♦️We need to learn to live with floods
♦️With Bihar under flood waters for at least 3 months of the year (that’s one-fourth of the year) why has the Govt not considered all Housing and construction on stilts in the flood prone areas?
♦️They do that in the Philippines, in Thailand and even in parts of Assam
♦️Houses built on stilts as high as over 10 feet with boats in every house to negotiate the flood waters!
♦️Instead of the horrid concretised western structures being copied in village after village, bamboo houses, with mud and indigenously baked mud bricks to weather the flood waters that claim over a thousand lives every year?
♦️Instead of emasculating the rivers in dams, culverts, embankments, tunnels, artificial lakes allow the rivers free flow over the flood plain so that when the waters recede the fertiliser Rich alluvial soil will yield crops that will break harvest records year after year
♦️Stop trying to Destroy Nature; learn to live with it
♦️And to add to the horrendous nature of this “modern” industrial intervention model is the nightmarish pace at which deforestation has taken place!
♦️Deforestation of the catchment area has led to increase in the silt content of the river flow.
♦️The total catchment area of the Kosi is 74,030 km2, excluding the catchment areas of its two important tributaries, the Kamla (7,232 km2) and the Bagmati (14,384 km2). ♦️These tributaries of the Kosi are important in themselves and are generally dealt with separately.
♦️Out of the total catchment of the Kosi, only 11,410 km2 are located in India and the rest (62,620 km2) lie in Nepal and Tibet.
♦️The river’s catchment area at Triveni in Nepal is 59,550 km2.
♦️The average rainfall in the upper catchment of the Kosi is 1,589 mm while in the lower areas it is 1,323 mm. The average annual silt load of the river is 92,400 acre feet (114,000,000 m3).
♦️A recent fact finding report for the Kosi floods of 2008, prepared by a civil society organization by various experts like Dr. Sudhir Sharma, Dr. Dinesh Kumar Mishra, and Dr Gopal Krishna, highlighted that although India has built over 3000 km of embankments in Bihar over the last few decades, the flooding propensity has increased by 2.5 times during the same time period, not to mention that embankments failed during each major flooding event.
♦️”The Fact Finding Mission recently released a report titled Kosi Deluge: The Worst is Still to Come, in which it stressed that embankments straitjacket the river. In the case of the Kosi, it found that because of siltation the river bed was in fact several feet higher than the adjoining land. The high and low lands separated by embankments have created a situation where the low lands have become permanently waterlogged. Sixteen per cent of the land mass of north Bihar is subject to permanent waterlogging.
♦️In 1954, when the Bihar flood policy was first introduced, Bihar had approximately 160 km of embankments. At this time, the flood-prone area in the state was estimated to be 2.5 million hectares. Upon the completion of the system of embankments, 3,465 km of embankments had been constructed and were administered by the Water Resources Department (WRD). However, the amount of flood-prone land increased to 6.89 million hectares by 2004.
♦️Says Yogendra Yadav “Dinesh Kumar Mishra, an engineer and hydrologist, and his NGO Badh Mukti Abhiyan has for years drawn attention to the folly of building embankments to control Kosi floods. Since Independence, the length of embankments in Bihar has increased more than 20 times. Far from a reduction in flooding, this period has actually witnessed a three-time increase in the flood-affected area. Mishra says we need to learn to live with floods.
♦️”In Assam too, geologist Dulal C. Goswami and environmentalist Partha J. Das have been cautioning that engineering solutions like embankment or dredging have long exhausted their efficacy. The limitations of this solution were evident at the time of Independence. It is a scandal that we still live with this outmoded and counter-productive approach.”
♦️Learn to LIVE WITH NATURE, STOP TRYING TO DESTROY IT!
♦️We need to learn to live with floods