Flood threat: More dams needed in Kerala
New Delhi: The Parliamentary Committee for Water Resources has proposed for constructing more dams to overcome the threat of incessant floods in the Kerala. The Committee presided over by Dr Sanjay Jaiswal recommended to the state government to take initiative in a discussion with the experts including eminent environmentalists in this matter.
The Committee also suggested that the central Jal Shakti Ministry intervene in acquiring the approval of the Ministry of Environment for the Attapadi Irrigation Project. The new report has been released by examining the different facets of Kerala flood of 2018 and also by seeking advice from the officials and experts in this field.
The report observed that the distinct geography and the heavy rainfall of Kerala had led to the floods of 2018. High incidence of urbanisation and increasing population density brought about changes in the land use structure of the state. Majority of the dams of Kerala were constructed between 1960 and 1980 for facilitating the needs of irrigation, industries, drinking water and electricity generation.
The water reservoirs in Kerala could only preserve upto 7 percent of the water flow. The Parliamentary committee also reported that the stringent environmental- forest laws and also the protests of environmental activists in the state hindered the government from constructing new dams and reservoirs in the state.
The committee pointed out that the Flood Forecasting Centre of the Central Water Commission was not established in Kerala during the 2018 flood. The State government had not given any request to set up this centre. The Central Water Commision provides Flood Forecasting Centres in the states only after receiving the state’s request for it. The Parliamentary report suggests revising this policy of the commission.
Due to the drastic climate changes, the report also warns the possibility of more floods and natural calamities in the country.
The Parliamentary Committee recommended that the Ministry of Jal Shakti intervene in solving the Mullaperiyar conflict too.
Environmental lobbies obstruct the plans for dams - Kerala
The Kerala government reported to the Parliamentary Committee that the powerful environmental lobbies are obstructing the development of dam projects in Kerala. Apart from this, several hindrances exist due to the enactment of Forest Conservation Act and Wildlife Protection Act in the state. Kerala does not have as much land as other states. Most of the water reservoirs are in the forest areas which comprise 28 percent of total land.