Q: What's the current concern regarding dam management?
A: Recent floods in Punjab, caused by excess water release from Bhakra and Pong dams due to heavy rain in Himachal Pradesh, have raised questions about water discharge timing and regulation. The spotlight is on the Dam Safety Act, 2021, which aims to prevent dam failure-related disasters.
Q: What does the Dam Safety Act entail?
A: The Act mandates surveillance, inspection, operation, and maintenance of dams to ensure safe functioning. Dam owners, often state governments and public sector entities, must establish hydro-meteorological networks, inflow forecasting systems, and emergency warning systems for downstream flood-prone areas. Owners are also required to prepare and update emergency action plans for reservoirs.
Q: What are the current challenges in dam management?
A: The lack of regular risk assessment studies and effective implementation of action plans has led to a loss of control over dam management. This has been evident in incidents like the Kerala floods of 2018, where inadequate reservoir management worsened the situation.
Q: What's the potential of dams in flood management?
A: Dams, often referred to as the "temples of modern India" by Jawaharlal Nehru, can play a significant role in moderating downstream floods if used judiciously. Proper management can minimize human and economic losses, aligning with their intended purpose.
Q: What's the environmental aspect of dam projects?
A: While hydropower projects offer renewable energy, their environmental impact needs careful monitoring. Balancing energy needs with ecological concerns is crucial to ensure sustainable development.
Q: How can dam management be improved?
A: Regular risk assessments, effective action plan implementation, and a balance between energy generation and environmental protection are key. Collaborative efforts between dam owners, governments, and experts are essential for the safe and sustainable operation of dams.