Flood Management in GBM Basin: A Mechanism for Natural Resource Management Between Co-riparians Priyanka Mallick JNU Outline • • • • • Background GBM River Basin Floods in GBM Existing Mechanism Regional Cooperation Flood • Flooding is a normal seasonal inundation of floodplain to which traditional settlements, infrastructure and land use are well adapted. • It plays a major role in replenishing freshwater resources, recharging wetlands and groundwater and supporting agriculture and fishery systems, thereby making flood plains preferred areas for human settlement and various economic activities. • However, floods have negative impacts on lives, livelihoods and economic activities and in extreme cases cause devastation. • Flood disasters are among the world’s most frequent and damaging types of disasters. • The South Asia region is drained by the Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghana river system, is one of the largest flood prone region in the world. • All the countries in the region are low-income economies and their efforts towards economic growth have always been thwarted by recurrent natural disasters like floods. GBM River Basin • This region has considerable water resources potential which can be used for multipurpose beneficial uses like irrigation, hydropower generation, flood control etc. • But ironically this region also constitute the most poor population of the world. • The social indicators like economic growth, education, and health is also very disappointing. • With the increasing population and massive deforestation flood hazard has become a regular phenomena in this region. • With the changing man-nature relationship, the poor and vulnerable section of the society are worse affected. Spatial variation in precipitation over the GBM basin Causes of Flood • The first cause is related with intra regional like high intensity rainfall, cloud burst, erosion of river bank and embankments. • The other important cause is very much related with the regional perspective. As lower riparian country is subject to run-off from upper catchment area after heavy rainfall and snowmelt. Bangladesh is most vulnerable to this kind of disasters. • Recent emerging reason is the effect of climate change and sea level rise in the low land areas of India and Bangladesh. Bangladesh lies on the great delta of GBM basin is most vulnerable while constitute only 7% of the total catchment area of GBM river system. Catchment areas of the GBM River Systems Measures Undertaken • Structural Measures • Non-Structural Measures • There are several existing mechanism for flood management, but mostly with the country specific like Rashtriya Barh Aayog(1980) and Brahmaputra Board was constituted in India. • In Bangladesh Flood Action Plan was started in 1992 but could not achieve much success. • In Nepal also flood forecasting and warning was initiated in 1988 with Indian assistance. Integrated Flood Management Elements of IFM • • • • • Manage the water cycle as a whole Integrate land and water management Adopt a best mix of strategies Ensure a participatory approach Adopt integrated hazard management approaches Regional Cooperation • GBM basin is spread in more than one country so an effective flood management strategy is essential. • Floods and erosion originating in one part of the region may greatly affect another. • Vast hydropower potential exists in one country but its market lies in the others. • There is an existing mechanism between India and Bangladesh in the form of the Indo-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission and Mahakali between India and Nepal. However several other issues are still unresolved. • The existing flood forecasting and warning capacity of Bangladesh could be more effective if real-time data Contd… Regional Cooperation could be acquired from upstream areas within the GBM catchment, where runoff is generated. • There is need to go beyond the structural measures and should take into account the social, economic, political and institutional dimensions through international diplomacy. • India has some limited arrangements on data sharing with neighbours. • Individual efforts of each country to mitigate the flood hazards by adopting preventive measures by way of both structural as well as non-structural measures did not prove much effective. Contd… Regional Cooperation • An urgent requirement is the development of enduring institutional capacity between the GBM nations to generate adequate knowledge about water sector. • This is likely to achieved only through independent and non profit institutions, including universities and research establishments. • A region-wide integrated approach based on comprehensive data sharing and joint modeling and scenario development efforts among the GBM countries should be highly useful in managing floods and mitigating its impacts in all the regional countries. Thank You !