Government Initiatives on Flood Management

The subject of floods control is not particularly mentioned in any of the three legislative lists of the Constitution. However, Drainage and Embankments are mentioned in State list. Thus the primary responsibility to deal with floods is of states. The role of central government is technical and advisory in nature. The states have to prepare plans for flood control based on the local needs.

Presently India has two tier flood management systems viz. state level mechanism and central government mechanism. The State Level Mechanism includes the Water Resources Departments, Flood Control Board and State Technical Advisory Committee. The Central Government Mechanism includes several organizations and various expert committees to enable the State Governments in addressing flood problems in a comprehensive manner.

Central Water Commission (CWC)

It was set up in 1945 for promoting measures of flood control, conservation and utilization of water resources throughout the country in the areas of beneficial uses, irrigation and hydropower generation, flood management and river conservation.

Brahmaputra Board

It was set up in 1980 and its jurisdiction includes all States of North East region in Brahmaputra and Barak Basin.

Brahmaputra Board prepared master plans for the flood management for river Brahmaputra and Barak.Besides this, the Board has undertaken survey and investigations for preparation of master plans for tackling the problems of flood, erosion and drainage congestion including DPRs for multipurpose projects.

Ganga Flood Control Commission

It was set up in 1972. It has prepared comprehensive plans for flood management of the 23 sub-basins in the Ganga Basin and also drawn out a phased programme of implementation of these works.

Farakka Barrage Project Authority

It carry out anti-erosion and river bank protection works in near river vicinity of the Barrage.

Government’s Initiatives and Policies on Floods

The Government of India took several initiatives and constituted a number of Committees to study the problem of floods in the country. They are:

  • Policy Statement – 1954
  • High Level Committee On Floods – 1957 & Policy Statement of 1958
  • National Flood Commission (Rashtriya Barh Ayog) – 1980.
  • Expert Committee to Review the Implementation of the Recommendations of National Flood Commission-2003 (R Rangachari Committee)

National Water Policy (1987/ 2002/2012)

The National Water Policy (1987) adopted by the National Water Resources council recommended that sufficient flood cushion should be provided in water storage projects to facilitate better flood management. Along with physical flood protection works like embankments and dykes it laid emphasis on adoption of non-structural measures such as flood forecasting and warning and flood plain zoning etc.for the minimization of losses.

The National Water Policy (2002) adopted by the National Water Resources Council recommended the following guiding principles:

  • Preparing master plan for flood control and management for each flood prone basin.
  • Along with physical flood protection works, non-structural measures should be given more emphasis.
  • Regulation of settlements and economic activity in the flood plain zones along with flood proofing, to minimize the loss of life and property on account of floods.
  • Coastal States should prepare a comprehensive coastal land management plan, keeping in view the environmental and ecological impacts, and regulate the developmental activities accordingly.

The National Water Policy (2012) adopted by the National Water Resources Council recommended similar guiding principles as recommended in the National Water policy (2002).