June 3, 2024

Indian government tells dam owners to install advanced safety systems as above-normal rainfall predicted | India News


NEW DELHI: With India expected to receive “above normal” rainfall during the four-month (June-September) monsoon season, the central government has notified new rules requiring all owners of designated dams to set up properly designed hydrometeorological measurement networks for inflow forecasting and flood warning.

The move comes at a time when “above normal” rainfall forecasts suggest that low-lying areas may be flooded if the dams are filled to capacity if excess water is released to ensure the safety of the dams. The designated dams are those that fall under the National Register of Large Dams. There are 5,745 large dams in the country.

According to the register, India has 234 large dams that are more than 100 years old, whose safety is a major concern as their catchment areas receive significant rainfall during the monsoon season.Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of dams over 100 years old (63), followed by Maharashtra (44), Gujarat (30), Rajasthan (25) and Telangana (21).

The rules issued by the National Dam Safety Authority on May 20 also require state dam safety organizations to “conduct constant monitoring of all designated dams under their jurisdiction and observe various abnormalities such as cracks in the dam body or abutments, abnormal seepage, deflection of the dam body and other problems related to the dams and hydro-mechanical equipment” to ensure a satisfactory level of dam safety.

The responsibility of dam safety, especially its operation and maintenance, lies primarily with the dam owners (mostly state governments and central/state public undertakings (PSUs)). Currently, dam owners generally conduct safety audits in the form of regular pre-monsoon and post-monsoon inspections of the dams.

According to the notice, hydro-meteorological observation stations at specified dams are required to constantly measure rainfall (precipitation), water level, flow rate, temperature, humidity, evaporation, wind speed, wind direction and snowfall (if any) to monitor the safety of the dams.


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