Floods: A result of human activities, climatic change or capricious rains?

Enormous water has rained on the Earth this year with the possibility of creating massive groundwater reserves, but development has closed all avenues of water's entering the ground

Dr SB MisraDr SB Misra   2 Sep 2019 6:12 AM GMT

Floods: A result of human activities, climatic change or capricious rains?

Currently, floods are causing massive disaster in Northern India's Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Rajasthan. Before this, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala, and coastal Tamil Nadu were hit by the floods. Assam and North-Eastern states are also not spared. Numerous have died in Delhi, huge property damage has taken place, but the area hasn't suffered from excessive rains — flooding was due to the water released suddenly from the Hathini reservoir in Haryana. The flooding of Kosi in Bihar and Brahmaputra in Assam is also due to multipurpose dam projects in Nepal and China.

When Nehru declared the Bhakhra Nangal dam as the 'temple of modern India'; the Unites States' Hoover and Maharashtra's Koyna dams had already presented the glimpse of such a future. There was much argument and debate surrounding the Tehri dam, but only after the latter's near-completion. This argument should have taken place before the dam was proposed in the seismic zone and that obstructing the Ganges will lessen its flow in plains and that pollution will increase. All developed nations have ceased making big dams and hence began the trend of smaller dams. It would seem that India has missed the cue.

Torrential rains this year had the possibility of creating massive groundwater reservoirs, but development has plugged all avenues of water getting under the ground. Heavy rollers thwart the porosity and permeability of the soil while paving for roads, cutting up of trees puts an end to the loosening up of soil by roots, water reservoirs on earth's surface are either diminishing or dead already.

Rainy downpour pounding the village houses, sweeping away their thatched roofs with its flow and killing a vast number of animals is sinking humans deeper. Waterlogged fields may not produce adequate vegetables, grains crops will also be hit, milk will be costlier, medicines won't be readily available and the farmers would be at a loss. The rural Indian struggles for existence, everything else is secondary.

Climatic change manifests itself, to some extent, in melting glaciers, Greenland's ice cover thinning, floods and great consternation to the US and Europe — all are indicators of global warming. It is feared that when the actual melting of mountainous ice would happen, all coastal towns would be submerged in water. Lord Krishna's Dwarka has sunk deep in water and perhaps so has Bethlehem. Mumbai's predicament is chill-inducing.

Capricious rains also seem to further aggravate the flood situation. Rains occur in a village leaving the neighbouring village dry, an area of a city receives rains others not, somewhere cloud burst releases torrential rains elsewhere there is drought. Capricious rains have their method in the madness. Somewhere it rains normally for two years followed by a dry spell in the third or sometimes it rains adequately the third year after a two-year-long dry spell. Failing to get any logic we term it as God's ire. I think not that there could ever be a cure for global warming of capricious rains. There is, however, a solution in the ancient wisdom of sustained living, but it won't be agreeable to the fellow Indians.

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