Lessons from Surat floods: Planning structural and non structural flood control measures

Sanjaykumar Yadav

Friday 3 july 2015

9:00 - 9:15h at Europe 2 (level 0)

Themes: (T) Extreme events, natural variability and climate change, (ST) Learning from disasters

Parallel session: 14I. Extreme events - Lessons Disaster

Surat is one of the most vulnerable cities affected by repeated flooding. It is situated on the bank of river Tapti. Tapti River is one of the major perennial west flowing of India, Asia. The river is known for its high magnitude of flood since 1939. In 1974 Ukai Dam was constructed at Ukai. The Ukai Dam is situated at 93 km upstream of Surat City. The Surat city is located on the confluence of River Tapti and Arabian Sea. The recent floods of 1994, 1998 and 2006 resulted in the loss of millions of dollar due to damages caused by flood apart from casualty of men and animals. After flood of 1994 due to so called plague so many people died and wide media coverage resulted in the world wide frightening. The city was considered as the dirtiest city of the country. Due to climate change the events of short duration high intensity rainfall has increased in the Tapti River basin. In the year 1998 the dam was approximately ninety percentages full. Due to short duration high intensity rainfall resulted in the high inflow to the dam forced dam authority to release water from the dam. The carrying capacity of river was approximately 3 lacs cusec and the release water was more than two times its release capacity resulted in flooding of Surat city. The some parts of the city were under water. In 2006 the situation of 1998 was repeated and this time the situation was worst than 1998 flood. The ninety percentage areas of city were under water. The measures started to prevent Surat from floods as well as planning and developing a good city. The number of gardens increased from 15 in 1995 to 62 in 2006. The Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has one of the best water treatment plants in the country, while its solid waste disposal system is arguably the best in country. The rule level for the operation of reservoir has been revised twice after 1998 floods to accommodate high inflows without flooding downstream side of the dam. Apart from this the earthen bunds and retaining walls on the either side of the river bank has been constructed to pass flood safely. The local authority has shifted the urban poor who were residing on the banks of river and were worst affected by these floods to EWS housing. Apart form public awareness programme, health measures, spreading of pesticides, fogging and several other measures are discussed in detail in this paper.