Governing the Flood (Flooding of Brahmaputra river in Assam)

Why in News :

Flooding of Brahmaputra river in Assam (2017).


  • Official death to 11 -77
  • Around 12 lakh people have been displaced.
  • 20 districts, over 2053 villages and around one lakh hectares of agriculture land have been in undated.
  • The vast stretch of alluvial plains from Maharajganj in eastern UP to Karmganj in Assam’s Barak Valley is a densely populated area stretching across UP, Bihar, W.B and Assam.
  • These four states account for 17% of India’s geographical area but disproportionately accounts for 43% – 52 % of all Flood – prone areas of the country.

Causes :

Natural Causes :

  • High precipitation in the eastern Himalayas.
  • Steep slope (River catchment area)
  • Large Volume of water gushing down river channels from the eastern Himalayas into the flood plain.
  • This water exceeds the carrying capacity of the river channels.

Man Made Causes:

  • High population density
  • Deforestation



Embankment  Breach

  • Embankment have been the gold standard for flood protection.
  • Large population continue to stay inside the embankment.

Government  Response:

  • Constructing Dams
  • Dredging of rivers
  • Porcupine structure to combat erosion ex : Bambaoo porcupines

Way Forward :

  • Focus must shift from flood protection to flood governance.
  • Strengthening the moribund Brahmaputra board in Assam, and shafting it with scientist.
  • It must be tackled by a combination of structural intervention, institutional reforms and comprehensive initiatives to build resilience in the riverine population.


Source: Economic & Political Weekly

For More details : Vetrii IAS Academy Chennai

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