Yamuna nears danger mark in Delhi; higher part believed to be receiving heavy rain.
In the wake of heavy rainfall and a surge in the flow rate at the Yamunanagar-located Hathnikund Barrage, Delhi has been grappling with severe floods, resulting in significant losses to property and the displacement of thousands of residents. The Yamuna River’s water level, which had been hovering around the danger mark for several days, experienced a brief drop but may rise again due to fresh spells of heavy rain reported in Uttarakhand. The situation has further delayed rehabilitation efforts in the flood-affected low-lying areas of the capital city.
According to data from the Central Water Commission (CWC), the flow rate at the Hathnikund Barrage reached 1.47 lakh cusecs at 9 a.m., marking the highest flow rate since July 13. The water level in Delhi, which had been teetering around the danger mark of 205.33 metres, briefly dropped below this threshold on Saturday morning. However, with fresh heavy rainfall in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh predicted until July 25, there is a potential for the river water level to rise again, causing further disruptions to rehabilitation efforts.
The water level fluctuation in the Yamuna River has been a result of the heavy rainfall in the upper catchment areas, particularly in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Despite the subsiding rains, the discharge from the Hathnikund Barrage should not exceed the 3 lakh cusec mark. However, experts warn that in the event of heavy rains upstream of Delhi, the water level could rise, slowing down the pace of rehabilitation and forcing affected families to stay in relief camps for an extended period.
The floods have had significant repercussions for the Delhi. The inundation of the pump house at Wazirabad affected the water supply, causing disruptions for several days before being restored to normalcy. The pump house supplies raw water to Wazirabad, Chandrawal, and Okhla water treatment plants, which collectively account for around 25 per cent of the city’s water supply. As a result, residents faced challenges in accessing clean water, exacerbating the crisis.
The consequences of the floods have been severe, with over 27,000 people evacuated from their homes in Delhi. The financial losses incurred due to property damage, business disruptions, and loss of earnings have been substantial. The floods have left a trail of devastation, highlighting the urgent need for understanding the underlying causes and implementing measures to prevent such catastrophic events in the future.
The unprecedented flooding in Delhi has highlighted the pressing need for a comprehensive approach to address the underlying factors contributing to the calamity. Several key aspects must be considered to effectively mitigate future flooding risks and enhance the city’s resilience against extreme weather events.
One of the primary factors identified as a major contributor to flooding is encroachment on the river floodplain. The unchecked growth of urban areas has led to a reduction in the river’s capacity to handle excess water during heavy rainfall. To counteract this issue, urban planning and development policies must be revised to prioritise the preservation of natural water bodies and floodplains. By ensuring that these areas are kept free from encroachments and concrete construction, the city can facilitate the sustainable flow of rivers and better manage floodwaters.
Another critical factor is the inadequate drainage system, which was overwhelmed by extreme rainfall within a short period of time. To alleviate waterlogging and efficiently manage heavy rainfall, there is an urgent need for an upgraded and effective drainage system. Additionally, flood control measures should be implemented to safeguard vulnerable areas and prevent extensive damage during floods.
The accumulation of silt on the riverbed has raised the water level of the Yamuna River, exacerbating the flood situation. To address this issue, ongoing efforts to remove silt and maintain the river’s depth should be prioritised. Regular dredging can help mitigate the impact of silt accumulation and contribute to better water flow during periods of heavy rainfall.
A holistic approach to flood management should also include robust rehabilitation efforts for affected communities. Displaced families require immediate assistance and support during and after the floods. Adequate relief camps equipped with essential amenities should be promptly established to accommodate those displaced by the floods. The government, in collaboration with non-governmental organisations, should work together to provide vital resources such as food, clean water, medical assistance, and shelter to ensure the well-being of affected individuals. Special attention must be given to vulnerable populations, including the elderly, children, and people with disabilities, to cater to their specific needs.
Long-term measures to address climate change and its impact on extreme weather events are imperative for sustained flood mitigation. Integrating climate change considerations into urban planning can help identify vulnerable areas and develop strategies to build resilience. Encouraging sustainable practices and promoting green infrastructure can aid in reducing the city’s overall environmental footprint and decrease its vulnerability to floods.
Raising public awareness about climate change and its consequences is crucial to fostering a sense of responsibility among residents. By educating the public about the impact of human activities on the environment and the significance of climate adaptation, individuals can be empowered to participate in flood prevention and preparedness efforts.
Effective coordination among various Delhi government agencies and disaster response teams is vital for efficient flood management. Establishing clear communication channels and timely dissemination of information and alerts can help residents prepare for potential floods and take the necessary precautions to safeguard their lives and properties.
In conclusion, the recent devastating floods in Delhi underscore the urgent need for a comprehensive and proactive approach to mitigate the impact of extreme weather events. The city must prioritise preserving natural water bodies and floodplains, enhancing drainage systems, and implementing flood control measures to reduce vulnerability to floods. Timely and efficient rehabilitation efforts for affected communities, along with long-term climate change adaptation strategies, are critical to building resilience against future floods. By fostering public awareness and promoting sustainable practices, Delhi can take significant strides towards becoming a more flood-resilient city.