Heavy siltation in Wular Lake, Hokersar, Shalbugh, other lakes posing an imminent threat of floods
As Kashmir witness the fourth anniversary of devastating 2014 floods this year, there has been continuous reduction in carrying capacity of water bodies over the years due to siltation and encroachments.
On September 7, 2014, the Kashmir was hit by the devastating floods. Most parts of Kashmir remained under water for over a week. The devastating floods left around 300 people dead and rendered thousands of people homeless.
At the same time, there has been reduction in carrying capacity of water bodies.
According to the official figures, the Valley has a history of floods of around 130 years. The first flood which has been recorded on the Shergari gauge dates back to July 21, 1893. The Shergari gauge, the first gauge was set up in 1893. Since than, some major floods hit the Valley in 1900, 1902, 1903, 1905, 1912, 1929, 1948, 1950, 1957, 1959, 2014, in 2015 and then recently in 2018.
The Wular Lake which is the largest flood absorption basin has lost the water carrying capacity due to host of factors. Several survey have found that gross human interference, deforestation, encroachments, chocking of water ways and reduction in capacity of wet lands due to heavy siltation posing an imminent threat of floods even by average downpour.
“The capacity of retaining water in water bodies has reduced over the years. 20 percent of the Wullar Lake has reduced due to the siltation. Other water bodies like Hokersar, Shalbugh have also witnessed siltation which leads reduction in retaining water capacity. Even the moderate rainfall poses a threat of flood in the Valley,” an official of I&FC department told KNS.
He said they can't make the water storage on rivers due to Indus Water Treaty that could have helped the Valley during floods.
The Indus Water Treaty signed between India-Pakistan has placed curbs on the construction of storage reservoirs on rivers in J&K which could ensure the provision of requisite water flow.
According to a disaster management report, 13 districts in J&K out of 100 districts in India have been identified as 'Multi Hazard Districts' and called for pro-active, holistic and comprehensive approach towards disaster risk reduction and management
“Majority areas of the Valley, especially Sonawari, Awantipora and Srinagar, along with parts of Jammu are prone to floods. Upper catchments of all the tributaries of the Jhelum, Indus, Chenab and Tawi rivers are prone to flash floods,” the report says. (KNS)