The current flood kind of validates the govt stance that 'dam opening' was not exactly the only problem of last years flood. This time the dams were practically empty. The big ones are still only half full. Still we had serious floods and landslides.
Last year, I kind of lost focus, since we had widespread destruction close to where I live, and the sudden rise in water happened due to dam opening. A lot of areas that wouldn't see a flood by rain alone were inundated. A lot of damage to which I can personally relate (friends, colleagues, the mansion of the big boss) happened because of the dam opening.
So, the issue - in my mind - was restricted to the 'sudden rise in water level due to dam opening'. This year, things are worse actually, due to landslides. But I feel I can think better.
We have two issues now. 1) Floods and 2)Landslides. Like hurricanes and tornadoes.
First of all, let us talk floods NOT caused by dam opening:
Let me distinguish between 'flood' and 'waterlogging'. Consider this philosophical question
Is it a 'flood' if water fills an uninhabited low lying area?
No.. That would be just waterlogging. No one cares, except maybe some fishing enthusiasts. It is a 'flood' when there is deep waterlogging in inhabited areas that displace people and damage property. We put our houses where it is prone to waterlogging and we got flood.
So, we literally walked out into the rain and started complaining we got wet.
But why there is flood now. Why not earlier?
A famous leader once said after losing in election "The other guy got more votes! Duh!". The cause of the current floods is lot of water fell from the skies. Like upto a feet in a day!! This water needs to run off somewhere, ultimately to the sea. The drainage system consisting of streams, rivulets and rivers can take only so much of water. If there is more water, it fills the low lying areas and there will be 'waterlogging'. If people are living there, then we have 'flood'.
So, what do we do? We can not point a finger at the people who went and built houses at the 'waterlogging prone area' and say "deal with it!".
Obviously, we need to have two things. 1) A system to deal with floods that happen(because they WILL happen) and 2)A system to reduce the intensity of the flood in the future (because there is no PREVENTING)
So, what it takes to deal with floods?
1. Advance warning: The proposed flood predictor will help. We also need a better 'rain predictor' than what we have with the IMD now. More importantly, we need a lot of rain gauges all over the place to collect accurate rain and water level data.
2. An evacuation and relief plan. That is very difficult to ask from a population that simultaneously believes in the principles of Karma, Advaitha, Chankian, Communism and Capitalism, all at the same time. If there ain't no flood one year, by the next year the system is gone. But it is better to at least have a formal rule book written and enforced for the babus. The buggers still use many old books made by the British religiously (like the rule that says: treat the natives like 'lying, cheating lowlives')
Now, how to reduce the intensity of the floods:
Simple onlee.. We have no way of reducing the amount of rain coming down. So, the only thing we can do is to make sure that the water drains off. Need to identify the maximum waterlogging capacity of all low lying areas, and 'construct by destruct' flow channels to take excess water away. If done scientifically, we can even dedicate some low lying areas as 'sumps' which can be used for 'risk prone farming'. Lease them out for farming, with an associated insurance policy against crop loss due to flooding.