Friday, September 9, 2011

Flood Update I - 2011 of Water Initiatives Odisha

Flood Update I from Water Initiatives Odisha

9th September 2011

Dear co-sailors,

Fifteen years ago, Water Initiatives Odisha(WIO) had started the habit of compiling Drought and Flood Updates for the state of Odisha and we used to share these among people, policy makers, media, academicians and other concerned.  That time we did it through print papers and distributed photocopied updates.  After continuing the effort for a few years, we could not keep up with the pace of the droughts, floods and disasters and stopped the effort a decade back.  However, we kept on sending occasional updates from time to time via the internet and also through our print publications.  Our friends and well-wishers have been asking us to start it again and we have too realised that the need for regular updates has become more vital than ever before with droughts, floods and other disasters assuming new and gigantic proportions under new conditions of rapid industrialization and climate change.  We are thus resuming the effort.  On 27th of August we brought out the First Drought Update of this year and now this update comes on Floods.

The format would be the same: a simple compilation of news and views on floods and related issues sourced from newspapers, research reports, field studies and all other sources we can have access to.  We keep it simple also to reach out to maximum number of people possible. 

At the moment, it’s occasional and we may come up with these updates as and when we can, given our limited manpower and resources.  However, with your inputs and support, we are sure; we shall be able to ensure regular flow of this update. 

We request you to send in your reports of activities, your views; and any other interesting and relevant article, books, photographs, and anything that you feel we should cover in this Update.  It’s YOU who is the most important FUEL of this effort.

Look forward to listen from you and your continued support.

Thanks and regards,

Ranjan Panda
Convenor, Water Initiatives Odisha
Hirakud dam fails in managing floods, yet again!
The flood situation in river Mahanadi, especially due to mismanagement of the Hirakud dam, has once again called for urgent attention of the policy planners.  While we write this update at the afternoon hours of 9th September 2011, television channels are broadcasting that 59 out of the 64 gates of the dam have been opened to release 9,74,373 cusecs of water.  10, 37,000 cusec of water is entering into the reservoir.  Almost all the districts downstream have been hugely impacted by this.  In districts like Sambalpur, areas which had not seen floods even in 2008, have been inundated with flood waters.  “The dam management authority kept watching for this situation to come even as the water in the reservoir kept increasing steadily from July 20”, alleges Water Initiatives Odisha.  

Analysing the reservoir level, one would find out that it was maintained at about 595 feet for the month of July but started steadily increasing from July 20 when it touched 596.85.  While on July 24 it touched 601.75, by August 1, it reached 607.27.  Then it continued to increase and from August 9 it went above 620 level and as reported currently it’s about 628.5. 

Analysing water storage on various dates would show how the dam management is responsible for the current situation which has virtually forced it to release huge amount of flood water within the last two days.  Actually, the dam authorities have been forced to open as many as 49 gates in 48 hours!! As per the ‘rule curve’ (as sourced from various sources), while on August 1st the recommended minimum water level should have been 590 feet, it was in reality kept at as high as 607.27.  Similarly, while on August 13, the recommended min water level should have been 606 feet, the dam authorities kept it at 613.58.  And this was the same for all the days.  With the objective of keeping the flood cushioning space in the reservoir so that it does not reach the Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of 630 by end of monsoon, i.e. 1st week of October, the water should have been kept at much minimum level than where it was kept.  However, the reservoir was holding a water reserve level more than 624 on all dates from 1st to 5th September; which than increased to 625.65 on 6th, 626.12 on 7th, and 626.89 on 8th.  The dam authorities may have a maximum limit prescription but keeping in mind the situations that was emerging they should have kept the reservoir at the minimum prescribed levels.

Now the government puts the responsibility of the flood on the heavy rain at the upper catchment and release of water from Chhattisgarh.  However, daily and weekly predictions by the IMD were continuously warning of heavy spells.  It proves that the dam management authority has not been following a co-ordinated approach with Chhattisgarh and IMD.  We at WIO have demanded that the govt. of Odisha establishes proper communication and clearly defined co-ordinated action with Chhatisgarh on management and planning of Mahanadi River.  The govt. must, without any further delay, enter into a legally binding ‘water management and basin planning treaty’ that will help in management of Mahanadi water throughout the year.

(Source: WIO Team, 9th September 2011)
History Repeats in Mahanadi: What WIO said on 2008 floods
With the gradual easing of the unprecedented flood situation, the blame game has peaked. Along with the unfolding of tragedies and devastations of the flood, many critical aspects relating to management of the Hirakud reservoir has come out of closet. In the immediate aftermath of the flood, the dam managers have come in for severe criticism for not following the rule curve and keeping a very high level of water in the reservoir. While there is truth in that, the fact is that factors like climate change and underlining shift in priorities of the reservoir has grossly limited the scope of the reservoir in mitigating high flood, especially during the later parts of the monsoon. And the ‘Rule curve’ that is being followed since 1988 has become obsolete and dangerous in the present day context.
Source: WIO Advocacy Update III – on Orissa Floods and Hirakud, dated 24th September 2008

LATEST NEWS on 09.09.2011
Flood threat: 3,000 evacuated in Orissa
Bhubaneswar: About 3,000 people were evacuated from the low-lying areas of Orissa after a huge discharge of water from the Hirakud Dam triggered fears of floods in 11 of the state's 30 districts, an official said Friday.
Description: Flood threat: 3,000 evacuated in Orissa
According to reports, at least 1,600 people were moved from low-lying areas to safer places in Boudh district, an official of the state flood control room here told IANS.
About 500 people in Jharsuguda and 300 people in Subarnapur were evacuated from the low-lying areas of these districts. Some were evacuated Thursday night, others early Friday, he said.
Due to heavy rains in the upper catchment areas in the past several days, including in Chhattisgarh, a huge quantity of water is entering the Hirakud reservoir on the river Mahanadi in Sambalpur district, about 350 km from here.
As a result, the dam authorities had to release the excess water by opening 53 of its 64 sluice gates Thursday.

Orissa: Rivers flowing danger mark in Jagatsinghpur
Report by Kahnu Nanda; Jagatsinghpur: There appears to be no respite from rains and sever water logging in low line areas then it has added to the woes of people flood. Official reports reveal that all the major rivers and its tributaries are flowing above danger mark at various places in Jagatsinghpur district till report filed on Friday evening.

 Following heavy rains due to low pressure occurred in Bay of Bengal major flood is proceeding in river Mahanadi as result all the rivers flowing in Jagatsinghpur district as Devi, Beluakhai, Govari, Hansua and Mahanadi have continued flash floods and few river side villages have inundated. According to district administration instruction those living in low line areas have been shifted to the safer places and cyclone shelters.

 Source said that the villages of Deriki, Nandigram, Dahipal, Tirana, Jamugaon Bhatana, and Majhipada under Naugaon block , Sampur, Andhari, Japa, Ambiki, Pallikanta, Gadaharishpur in Erasama block, Tarpur, Tarasahi, Naharana , Kalio, Thailo, Apandara, Sainto of Balikuda block, are in trouble while flood water in river Devi is flowing danger mark, irrigation department sources said in Machhagaon river Devi is flowing 13.80 feet against the danger level of 13 feet and in Alipingala river Devi is too flowing danger level 12 meter against the danger level 11.76 meter.

 However villagers of Krishnanandapur, Kukurkhia, Govardhanpur, Badabalikani under Tirtol block are spending sleepless night past two days when water flow in river Mahanadi is receding, district emergency department sources said Mahanadi is swelling red mark  24 feet against the danger level 22.75 feet at Sankheswar.

 The flood situation in Daleighai showed signs of increasing flood  water, the water flow at Daleighai is 57.50 feet when danger mark at this vulnerable point is 57 feet senior irrigation department officials were visited Daleighai on Friday and take the stock of the situation, said B B Jena, Executive engineer, irrigation department Jagatsinghpur.

 Meanwhile collector N C Jena visited many flood affected areas and made arrangements for stock of relief materials indifferent blocks, senior civil officials have been deputed in each block to look after the flood situation, 24 hours patrolling have pressed in to service in several weak points have been detected in river embankments , at least 2100 quintal of rice, 200 quintal of flattened rice, 132004 liters kerosene, country boats  have been stocked in different block headquarters to cater the need of relief and rescue operation if arises.

Meanwhile collector has instructed officials and employees to be stand by in district headquarters and holidays starting from tomorrow has been canceled, meanwhile collector has asked people not to be panicky and requested to assist administration during relief and rescue operation.

Flood situation grim in Orissa; five killed

Bhubaneswar, Sep 9 - Flood situation in Orissa worsened today with the release of more water downstream from Hirakud dam, even as the state government sought choppers from the Centre for relief and rescue operations in affected areas where five persons have died so far.

A high alert has already been sounded in 11 districts of the state.

"At least five persons have so far died due to flood," Water Resources secretary Suresh Mohapatra said, adding one person each died in Kendrapara, Jajpur and Sambalpur district while two were killed in Mayurbhanj district.

"Besides, three persons were reportedly swept away in flood water in Nayagarh district. But their bodies have not been recovered yet," he said.

Revenue and Disaster Management minister S N Patro, after reviewing the flood situation, said, "Tonight and tomorrow is crucial period for the state as about 13 lakh cusec flood water will flow through Munduli near Cuttack."

The state government's worries were doubled as water level in Baitarani and Subarnarekha river systems was also increasing though they showed declining trend yesterday, the minister said describing the situation in Mahanadi river system as a "high-flood".

Affirming that the situation in the Mahanadi system had worsened due to heavy downpour in upper catchment areas of Chhattishgarh, the minister said low pressure is gradually moving towards Jharkhand.
Around 11.5 lakh cusec of water was flowing into Hirakud due to rains in Chhattisgarh, with the water level touching 628.83 ft as against the reservoir level of 630 ft, Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra said, adding that 59 gates of the dam were opened to discharge the water.

There are 64 sluice gates and 34 crest gates at the dam for discharge of excess water, the official said.
A high alert has already been sounded in 11 districts while the government apprehends a severe flood threat in Mahanadi delta area comprising four districts of Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Jajpur, sources said.

In addition, districts like Nayagarh, Puri, Sambalpur, Sonepur and Boudh would also be affected due to the flood in Mahanadi river system, they said.

The government is ready to launch relief and rescue operation, while arrangements were being made for air-dropping food and other essential commodities.

Though there had been no breach of embankment in the Mahanadi system, flood water rushed to 1437 villages spread over 14 districts. PTI


Time:1200 hrs
Time:1100 hrs
Time:0800 hrs
Time:0800 hrs
Time:0800 hrs
Time:0800 hrs
Time:0600 hrs
Reservoir Level & position wrt. Full Reservoir Level
RL: 627.27ft
RL: 122.92m
RL: 1459.2ft
RL: 2747.45ft
RL: 848.98m
RL: 630.6m
RL: 72.39m
(-) 2.73ft
(-) 0.58m
(-) 56.80ft
(-) 2.55ft
(-) 9.02m
(-) 11.40m
(-) 9.91m
Reservoir Inflow & Outflow
Live Storage capacity & Live Storage available
Cap:482155 Ham
Cap:341371 Ham
Cap:267600 Ham
Cap:96993 Ham
Cap:93500 Ham
Cap:148550 Ham
Cap:55650 Ham
LS:424434 Ham
LS:321363 Ham
LS:44303.65 Ham
LS:90769.7 Ham
LS:27572 Ham
LS:38388.44 Ham
LS:26180 Ham
The RED line corresponds to  Full Reservoir Capacity
Met Speaks
Major Feature of Weather Forecast Upto 0830 hours IST of 12th September, 2011:

-          Widespread rain/thundershowers would occur over Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Gangetic West Bengal during next 24 hours and decrease thereafter.

Weather warning:

-          Isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur over Jammu division of Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Gangetic West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa during next 24 hours and over Chhattisgarh and east Madhya Pradesh during next 48 hours.

Source: India Meteorological Department’s All India Weather Bulletin (Evening, 9th),September 2011

Water Initiatives Odisha: Fighting water woes, combating climate change... more than two decades now!

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Kiss the rain when you can, because water and abundance are falling apart...(Ranjan Panda)

Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) is a state level coalition of civil society organisations, farmers, academia, media and other concerned, which has been working on water, environment and climate change issues in the state for more than two decades now.

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