High rainfall in catchments, less drainage capacity caused J&K floods: Study

The worst floods in a century to ravage Jammu and Kashmir in September was a result of high rainfall in catchments over a short period of time and less capacity of the drainage system to hold the massive surge of water, according to a joint scientific study.

Srinagar: The worst floods in a century to ravage Jammu and Kashmir in September was a result of high rainfall in catchments over a short period of time and less capacity of the drainage system to hold the massive surge of water, according to a joint scientific study.

The study of the satellite-based rapid assessment of the floods conducted by Department of Environment, Ecology and Remote Sensing (DEERS) in collaboration with Hyderabad-based National Remote Sensing Centre, ISRO also suggested measures like a parallel flood channel to protect the cities and towns in the state from its recurrence.

The official death toll in the floods was put at 280. An estimated 22 lakh people covering 287 villages were affected, an official spokesman said today.

The report, presented to the government by Director DEERS Suresh Chugh, said incessant rains in the first week of September led to massive floods in the Valley as well as in Jammu region.

"The report reveals that the floods in Jammu and Kashmir were as a result of high rainfall in the catchments over short period of time, which amounts to cloud bursts and is a combined effect of the extreme event and less capacity of the drainage system to hold the quantum of water resulting in overflowing of banks and ultimately lead to the floods," the spokesman said.

"There were incessant rains on September 4. For continuous 30 hours and in three days the rainfall touched 450 mm which was very unusual. Normally, rains take place in J&K from July to mid-September. On Sept 3 there was a rainfall deficit of 32 percent but on September 8 it showed excess of 18 per cent - a change of 50 per cent in five days," the spokesman said.

He said there was a confluence of three main rain bearing systems over Punjab that led to heavy rains in Kashmir.

The report indicates that in all 557 sq km area was inundated, which is about 3.5 percent of the area of the state.

Out of this, 444 sq km was Agriculture land, 20 sq km Horticulture land, 67 sq km built up area, 3 sq km forest area, 21 sq km wasteland and 2 sq km others.

The spokesman said the report also outlines a strategy to protect the cities from floods in future like feasibility study for construction of parallel flood channel from Sangam-Kandizal to Wular.

Dredging on regular intervals, monitoring of sediments, land use, land cover, maintaining sanctity of Wetlands and Water bodies, climate change adaptation and mitigation have been suggested in the report

"It also suggests need for a multidisciplinary team to study hydrological response of each catchment," the spokesman said, adding the report gives very authentic details about flood and will be useful for future planning.

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