Floods and mitigation measures

Lesson 23: Disaster management

Floods and mitigation measures

The lower plain regions of India, in particular Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal with respect to the river Ganga and Assam with respect to the Brahmaputra, suffer from adverse effects of floods every year. The Ganga-Brahmaputra basin receives the maximum run-off within the three monsoon months.

Floods can be caused by natural, ecological or anthropogenic factors, either individually or as a combined result. Anthropogenic activities, such as deforestation and shifting cultivation, can also contribute to floods. Forests on the hill-slopes normally exert a ‘sponge effect’, soaking up the abundant rainfall and storing it before releasing it in small amounts over a period of time.

The mitigation measures for floods include both structural and non-structural measures. The structural measures include:
  1. Reservoir for impounding monsoon flows to be released in a regulated manner after the peak flood flow passes.
  2. Prevention of over-bank spilling by the construction of embankments and flood walls.
  3. Improvement of flow conditions in the channel and anti-corrosion measures.
  4. Improved drainage.
The non-structural measures include:
  1. Flood-plain management such as flood plain zoning and flood proofing, include preparedness.
  2. Maintaining wet lands.
  3. Flood forecasting and warning services.
  4. Disaster relief, flood fighting and public health measures.
  5. Flood insurance.

Last modified: Tuesday, 3 January 2012, 10:30 AM