Topic– Disaster and disaster management.
4) It is time to formulate water management policies for reservoirs in such a manner that dams are used to control floods, not cause them. Critically Comment.(250 words)
Why this question
Kerala recently witnessed devastating floods of unprecedented magnitude. Different reasons have been forwarded for the reason behind the floods and sudden release of water from dams is the most cited reason in this regard. However, dams serve some important purposes and can be better managed. It is therefore necessary to discuss the issue of management of dams in detail.
Key demand of the question.
The question wants us to dig deep into the issue and bring out the role of dam management in controlling as well as causing floods. We have to discuss both the aspects of the dams- as causative agents of floods as well as the preventive agent. Based on our discussion we have to form a personal opinion on the issue.
Structure of the answer
Introduction– write a few lines about the number of dams in India, contribution of hydropower generation in overall electricity generation.
- Discuss how dams are responsible for floods. E.g they harm the natural ecosystem and course of rivers; siltation with time decreases reservoir capacity and increases propensity of floods in the future, increased risks of earthquakes, landslides which can trigger floods etc.
- Discuss how dams can be better managed so that they can be used to control floods rather than cause them. E.g Authorities always look to store the maximum amount of water in reservoirs during the monsoon season, which is then used for irrigation and generation of electricity during the summer months. It is an internationally accepted practice that the water level of a reservoir should be kept below a certain level before the onset of the monsoon season. This is so that when the monsoon rains come, there is space to store the excess rainwater and also so that water can be released in a regulated manner, thus preventing floods downstream when there is heavy inflow to the dams; regular desiltation of dams should be done; At present, the task of dam and water management is vested with the Public Works Department, the Electricity Board, and the Irrigation Department. Even in normal conditions, given contradictory opinions from various departments, it is difficult to implement decisions. Hence, the State Dam Security Authority, if competent, should be entrusted with the task of water management in reservoirs and with taking decisions in emergency situations etc.
Conclusion– Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue. E.g mention regular audit of dams; increasing the share of solar, wind energy etc.