Yamuna remains above danger mark; Delhi requires flood forecasting system

  • Heavy downpour during 8-9 July, and subsequent rains in upper catchment areas led to the Yamuna swelling to record levels and flooding the city

Puja Das
Updated18 Jul 2023, 06:27 PM IST
View of flooded Yamuna river at ITO.;
View of flooded Yamuna river at ITO.;

New Delhi: The river Yamuna in the national capital continues to flow above the danger mark of 205.33 mtr even as the water level has declined since last week. Heavy downpour during 8-9 July, and subsequent rains in upper catchment areas led to the Yamuna swelling to record levels and flooding the city.  

The river touched 208.66 mtr on 13 July, surpassing September 1978’s record of 207.49 mtr.

Experts have said that Delhi needs a flood forecasting system.

“Rather than constraining the river, the government should explore ways to create space for the river to spread, and the easiest way is by de-silting the Yamuna and its tributaries and distributaries, especially around bridges, canals, and brooks,” said Pushpendra Johari, SVP - Sustainability, RMSI.

“Moreover, since Delhi is also prone to urban flooding, there is a need to implement a flood forecasting system to monitor the flood situation,” Johari added.

Approximately 66% of India's population is exposed to extreme flood events. In total, 14 of 32 states and union territories that are exposed to floods are highly resilient due to availability, accessibility, and effectiveness of early warning system (EWS) and impact-based, people-centred, end-to-end multi-hazard early warning systems (MHEWS). 

While 72% of Indian districts are exposed to extreme flood events, only 25% of these exposed districts have level flood forecasting stations, a new report by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) shows.

“Unlike other major cities that have conducted their risk assessment studies, Delhi is yet to conduct a multi-hazard risk assessment study as it is not just prone to floods but to earthquakes also. Such a study will generate the necessary data points to drive risk mitigation and developmental planning in Delhi,” Johari opined.

The Wazirabad water treatment plant, where operations were hit due to inundation of a pump house, has also started working at full capacity, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet on Tuesday morning. According to the Central Water Commission's flood-monitoring portal, the Yamuna water level declined to 205.67 metres by 8 am on Tuesday from 206.01 at 11 pm on Monday. It is expected to drop further to 205.41 metres by 7 pm.

Waterflow from the Hathnikund Barrage in Haryana's Yamunanagar has been decreasing over the past two days and further decline is expected.

The river has been receding gradually after peaking at 208.66 mtr on Thursday. However, fluctuation in the water level cannot be ruled out because of rain in the upper reaches. The inundation of a pump house at Wazirabad due to the swollen Yamuna had impeded operations at Wazirabad, Chandrawal and Okhla water treatment plants (WTPs), leading to a 25% drop in water supply.

The Okhla WTP began operating on Friday, and Chandrawal on Sunday. Kejriwal said in a tweet on Tuesday. Parts of the city, including ITO, have been grappling with waterlogging and flooding issues for a week now. Initially, a downpour caused intense waterlogging on 8 and 9 July, with the city receiving 125% of its monthly rainfall quota in just two days.

The flood has disrupted the lives of over 26,000 people who have been evacuated from their homes. The losses incurred in terms of property, businesses, and earnings have amounted to crores.

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First Published:18 Jul 2023, 06:27 PM IST
HomeNewsIndiaYamuna remains above danger mark; Delhi requires flood forecasting system

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