Chandan Mahanta, Guwahati Dialogue -10th September 2013


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Chandan Mahanta, Guwahati Dialogue -10th September 2013

  1. 1. Brahmaputra Basin: On policy perspectives and institutional processes Chandan Mahanta Professor, Department of Civil Engineering Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati
  2. 2. Brahmaputra Basin in India: Dynamic unstable landscape; People disadvantaged, less educated; Political and social marginality; Small ethnic minority; More vulnerable to negative consequences
  3. 3. Brahmaputra: unique river system • • • • Drainage pattern runs in diametrically opposite Drains diverse environments Himalayas considered to be younger in age In no other river bank erosion hazard is so critical According to Chinese Academy of Sciences (2012), originated at the Angsi glacier, the Brahmaputra is 3,848 kilometers long, and its drainage area is 712,035 square kilometers. Steep slope of the river in hilly areas and sudden decrease in slope near Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh compel Brahmaputra to assume a braided pattern, increasingly prominent further downstream.
  4. 4. Constraints of development Average per capita income in Brahmaputra floodplains 30 percent lower than national average Geographical disadvantage Partial and uncertain accessibility of water resource database resulting in lack of adequate scientific planning Water resource related institutional arrangements are bureaucratically complex and/or incomplete Most projects are national government dependent  Project blueprints not developed through riparian consultation and inter-state dialogue
  5. 5. 2004 2001 1998 1995 1992 1989 1986 1983 1980 1977 Year Flood damage in Assam plains during 1953-2006 Population affected (m). 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 -2 Population affected 1974 1968 1965 1962 1959 1956 Area affected 1971 4.5 4 3.5 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 1953 Area affected (mha). Flood and Erosion hazards
  6. 6. Effective development and management options Flood Management - not flood protection alone Improvement of existing measures Combination of various measures Flood plain zoning, flood proofing, flood forecasting Due importance to high sediment component Proper implementation of advanced technologies, e.g., Geo-synthetic materials, Amphibian dredger, hydraulic driving method Local ownership and proactive maintenance in safety and sustainability of any protection infrastructure Particulars Embankment a)Brahmaputra b)Tributaries Anti-erosion/ Town Protection Scheme Drainage Channel Sluices (major) Raised Platform Quantity 1016 Km 2681Km 533 Nos 599 Km 56 Nos 3 Nos Flood management works in the Brahmaputra basin (WRD, Govt. of Assam, 2004)
  7. 7. Multi purpose dams Flood storage as integral part of hydropower projects Community involvement in decision making Environmental dimensions International transmission routes Dam safety Preference on small/mini/micro/pico hydel projects in a targeted manner Structural modification, change in location and combination of both to minimize negative impacts of large hydropower projects.
  8. 8. Adaptation to climate change Policies and institutional mechanism integrating different departments Simulated average change in rainfall (mm/day) for 2071–2079 under SRES B2 scenarios from PRECIS relative to baseline (1961–1990) Simulated average change in rainfall (mm/day) for 2071–2079 under SRES A2 scenarios from PRECIS relative to baseline (1961–1990) Focus on short term actions for adaptation and mitigation Linkage of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies with socio - economic and institutional set up of the region An over-arching climate polic ydimension for the entire basin
  9. 9. Drinking Water  Sparse information on water quality  Fluoride and arsenic contamination in major parts of the basin  Seek alternatives before it is too late to cope with serious situations  Augmentation of groundwater aquifers by surface water
  10. 10. Navigation Economic activity is projected to increase with generation of additional 27,000 jobs by 2020 and overall projected rate of economic return on investments in inland water transport is around 15 % (World Bank, 2007) Cost-benefit analysis Integration of water transport into overall development picture, Increased navigational cooperation with Bangladesh Local-level infrastructure for community water transport on secondary rivers
  11. 11. Regional level ‘big picture’ assessment of water resources development scenario in the region • • • • • • • • No holistic assessment so far Regional and global linkage missing Outlook of the regional governments must change Synergy amongst departments and agencies Environmental and tectonic knowledge Examine potential of different options for industrial, economic, agricultural development vis-à-vis water Knowledge base as a tool for regional consensus Economic efficiency as a major consideration in water resource development and flood/ erosion mitigation
  12. 12. Towards renewed policy Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Overcome geopolitical challenges Appropriate policies, participatory processes, inter-state and international cooperation  Specified roles of institutions and stakeholder groups  Management tools that involves regulation, accountability, monitoring and enforcement (ADB, 2005)
  13. 13. Provision of data by concerned departments and sharing of data among riparian states as well as countries for collective endeavour Country level discussion and consultation Strengthened mechanism for transparency, public participation, accountability Environmental flow maintenance, water rights..
  14. 14. Conclusions Greater thrust in water hazard management Increased accountability by agencies Better centre-state coordination Inclusion of the community Development of organized framework with strong institutional mechanism An umbrella organization at the basin level covering all riparian states and countries Holistic approach with techno-socio-management Collective strength of local, national and international expertise to overcome hazards and put this unparalleled resource into best service of humanity.