South Asian countries plan SOS system for hydrological management of Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin
India and its neighboring countries sharing the transboundary Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basins plan to develop a hydrological SOS system – a year-round system for sharing data on reservoirs, rivers and dam water, which will help to mitigate water risks such as floods, droughts, mudslides and accelerated erosion.
A two-day meeting on the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna River Basins (GBM) – jointly organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) – a started Monday in New Delhi. . Hydrology experts from the Central Water Commission (CWC) and scientists from Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and China are attending the meeting.
The WBG watershed system crosses India, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The fragile ecology, varied terrain and socio-economic-political ties add to the challenges of dealing with the floods caused by the three rivers.
Last October, the South Asian Flash Flood Warning System was launched by India. This system sent warnings six hours before a likely flash flood. IMD’s hydrometeorological division sends alerts and advisories for India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
Cross-border rivers originating outside India cause massive flooding in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh during monsoon. According to CWC reports, India suffered an annual loss of Rs 6,000 crore each year between 1953 and 2000.
“Floods are part of the natural ecosystem, they cannot be fully controlled or avoided. But efforts can be made to minimize losses, ”said RK Sinha, president of CWC.
He added: “The proposed transboundary hydrometeorological early warning system is important and will cover major floodplains caused by transboundary rivers.
Mr. Ravichandran, Secretary of MoES, said: “The WBG basin is often the scene of cyclones, salinization, massive flooding and droughts due to both climate change and human activities. But more importantly, it supports rich biodiversity and livelihoods. All stakeholders should analyze the risks together and take action to implement the early warning system.
For India, the unregulated rivers on the left bank of the Ganga-Ghandak, Kosi and Ghaghra and Brahmaputra pose serious flood threats every year, Sinha added.
Representatives from Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal said an early warning system and increased sharing of hydrometeorological data was the need of the moment.
During the two-day meeting, international experts will prepare a conceptual plan for the Hydromet SOS project. “Different countries will work together and develop a system in which information on the state of hydrological processes and range-wide outlook will be provided,” said Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, IMD Director General.