This monsoon, Surat is ready to test waters
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An End-to-End Warning System (EWS) under a new independent body, the Surat Climate Change Trust (SCCT) will be pilot tested in Surat to improve information dissemination ahead of possible flooding this monsoon. Surat witnesses at least two events of flooding ever year.
Surat, along with Indore and Gorakhpur has signed up for a Rockefeller Foundation initiative called the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN).While Surat signed up in August 2010, it became one of the 10 cities across Asia to develop the first urban climate change resilience indicators of its kind which will then be replicable in other cities in Asia and beyond.
The ACCCRN will be monitoring the water levels of Tapi that have caused large-scale flooding in the past and sources add that around Rs 2 crore have already been disbursed to the trust as of now. The 14-member body formed under ACCRN include various stakeholders like the Centre for Social Studies (CSS), the District Collectorate, the Irrigation Department, the South Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI), Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC), Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology (SVNIT) and NGO TARU, Gandhinagar.
"In the historic floods of 2006, 12 lakh cusecs (cubic feet per second) of water was released from the Ukai dam and the consequent flooding caused losses amounting to Rs 20,000 crore. To combat this, we are using a technique called "Hydrological Modeling" to forecast how slowly the water from the Ukai dam ought to be released during the monsoons. This will help maintain a flood cushion and thereby minimise damage." said GK Bhat, one of the directors of TARU.
During last year's monsoon, around 75 per cent of the city faced flooding. Many areas were submerged under 20 feet of water. "Based on the forecasting done by the Indian Meteorological Department , the trust will prepare a model based on the actual rainwater in the catchment areas of Tapi river in Madhya Pradesh. We will work on the data provided by the Central Water Commission and come up with estimates about possible flooding. We will then disburse this data to the public through loudspeaker announcements, digital kiosks and the media," said Jatin Shah, commissioner of the SCCT and city engineer at the Surat Municipal Corporation(SMC).
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