Situation Analysis on Floods and Flood Management
by Eklavya Prasad and Nandan Mukherjee
(as part of the Ecosystems for Life: A Bangladesh-India Initiative)
Published by: IUCN Asia Regional Office; IUCN Bangladesh Country Office; IUCN India Country Office; IUCN Gland, Switzerland
Of Recurring Floods and Breaching Embankments
By: Nidhi Jamwal
Embankments are meant to control floods and save lives. However, non-participatory, unscientific and impetuous construction of such structures along the rivers of North Bihar has accentuated the flood woes. Not only have these engineering solutions changed the nature of floods and the relationship of villagers with their rivers, they have also induced floods in areas that had never experienced extreme deluge before.
Every year embankments breach at several locations, leading to floods in previously flood-free zones. This has lead to a huge damage to the fertile agricultural land in the state. The Government of Bihar has responded in a unique way. In 2011, it announced the construction of more embankments 1,600 km in the next five years. However, there is no comprehensive and cumulative assessment of the existing embankments meandering through North Bihar, which is one of the most flood-prone areas of India.
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…the flood control mechanism of constructing embankments is responsible for transforming the relationship between people and floods in North Bihar from a way of life to an assured annual devastation.