India Needs Climate Resilience
India is badly affected by climate change and accepting it should not dent our 5000 year old ego.
India is affected in a big way from climate change as evident from two extreme conditions “Drought and Flood” becoming our only seasons. Being a huge landmass we have both of them at any point in time in our country. There is no escape from this global phenomenon and we have to adapt and use these two extremes to complement each other. As a nation we have to be ‘Climate –Resilient’, a new concept where we are able to mitigate and recover from shocks and natural disasters to utilize them.
Its a priority all over the world now. Somewhere it’s a citizen’s initiative and somewhere government sponsors or undertake such projects. These are basically storing occasional excess of water for drought season. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, in its Climate Change Adaptation Policy, has developed initial guidance on Climate Resilient Mitigation Activities including green infrastructure methods, expanded ecosystem service benefits, and three flood reduction and drought mitigation activities. These are Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR), Floodplain and Stream Restoration (FSR), and Flood Diversion and Storage (FDS). It’s encouraging communities to engage in projects on the storage of flood water to deal with drought conditions.
Restoring River and its Flood Plains-
Rives of north India are known to have floods for ages. Plane of Ganga and its tributaries were most fertile lands due to the silt after the floods. Due to increasing population humans have settled on these planes and destroyed this boundary land between humans and rivers. 2014 Uttarkhand floods are an example of how damaging river planes can wreak havoc.
River planes need to be restored to its original ecosystem as much as possible. Natural vegetation and ecosystem in the flood plains slows down the flow of water and allows storage of excess water naturally replenishing the ground water. There was lot of protest against damaging of Yamuna flood plains for cultural activities but whatever was promised is still not done. There are plenty of news about encroachments on various flood plains but no restoration project comes up while searching on the web.
Flood Diversion and Storage projects
Government is planning to connect all the rivers of India to divert flood waters to areas where there is less rain. This is an utopian plan which has many flaws. Firstly with our current technology it’s going to take several years and till then we will have to face increasing floods and droughts. Secondly all the rivers will be polluted if one gets polluted with hazardous chemicals. Though most of them are already polluted but the few pristine ones will be compromised. Third reason seems very insignificant but can change human life drastically is the marine ecology mix-up. This happened when Krishna and Godavari rivers of south India were connected. 
A quicker and better approach would be to drain flood waters into manmade reservoirs dug up mostly near the flood prone rivers. Water stored in these can be used for human uses or irrigation or just for recharging the ground water. Have not come across any such efforts in our country. During floods we spend a lot on rescue operation year after year .Some of that amount can be used for such projects. Rivers like mighty Brahmaputra flood every year. Need little effort and planning to store that water.
Flood Water storage and controlled release
Urban floods like the one in Chennai in 2015 or Bengaluru 2016 or Delhi are examples of water not able to enter into ground or collect in lakes or ponds. Recently Hyderabad faced terrible floods though it comes under dry region. Technically these are just water logging as water didn’t come from a river or lake. This happens when there is concrete everywhere and water doesn’t get open soil to get inside the ground. An area without concrete in every part of the city should be made mandatory as well as manmade Aquifer Recharge Systems. Cleaning up the drains to for the quick movement of rain water to a collection pit is one action which can in short time solve the problems of urban flooding and also utilize the excess water. At the same time excess water can be transported to a man-made reservoirs via temporary canals/drains dug up at flood prone places which will be the second step of flood management.
Recent unrest over Cauvery water in Karnataka and Tamilnadu is an eye opener.11 years ago when we first came to this state Cauvery had floods and the rainy season extended well into the month of November. There have been gradually decreasing rains for these years. It’s a blind justice as it still wants the numbers to be met when there is not enough water even for few districts in the state. Both the states really need to wake up and not waste the occasional surplus water. Water conservation will only happen if there is water to conserve. Though Chennai has several desalination plants of huge capacity still they are not able to meet the water demands. In this scenario flood water saving becomes even more important..
Its time for citizens to come forward and work towards it. With a huge population it will be difficult for the governing bodies to implement all the innovative ideas. I think this needs decentralized efforts at village and city levels. More like the famous group which cleans and beautifies different areas in major cities which are actually municipal corporations responsibilities.
11 thoughts on “India Needs Climate Resilience”
So true.. We are always facing extremeties somewhere. Mumbai floods was the first wake up call for not having enough soil or clean drainage for rain water. Yet the story repeats every year. We had good monsoon this year but guess what? All the water collected in reservoir ran away due to some leakage and authorities realized after the rains stopped😀
Yes Nivedita we have to understand that rains will be displaced in time and regular rainwater harvesting efforts will not work. We have to be prepared to be able to store a months rain in a day…. Visit the links with the images . They have made really great efforts to store sudden cloudbursts.
Absolutely, rain and river water in excess must be tapped, stored and channelized to meet the requirements of a growing population in order to sustain and we need to have a sound action plan to think beyond rains and the excess dependence on them. Please read my article on https://adsunsri.wordpress.com/2016/09/22/whose-cauvery-is-it-anyway/ when you find time..
Thanks !Read your post. A very apt one. Would you like to share it
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sure …will do..but it has already appeared on my blog..
I think sharing would be the right word. We do share posts with due credit to the author and site. You can see today’s post. It’s a shared one
ok sure..pls go ahead
Sure will do
Thanks for the share and care:)
👍🏻 waiting for more such interesting posts .
Inspired and motivated to…:)