GUWAHATI, March 2 - A national conclave on the Brahmaputra River Basin has recommended regional and international cooperation and coordination, including with China, through an institutional mechanism to facilitate exchange of information on the Brahmaputra, since the river has a trans-boundary character.
The two-day conclave was organised by Gauhati University in collaboration with the North Eastern Council on February 12 and 13, and sponsored by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), a press release issued by Gauhati University said today.
The conclave laid emphasis on signing an agreement with China on exchange of hydro-meteorological data to facilitate a correct and realistic study on the stream-flow behaviour of the Brahmaputra River System.
It underlined the need to explore the option of a storage reservoir for flood moderation and multi-stakeholder dialogue involving the neighbouring riparian states for an integrated solution to the problems of flood, erosion and sedimentation in the Brahmaputra valley.
Taking a basin-level approach, for the good of people living in the Brahmaputra valley, an umbrella organisation including all the stakeholder states need to be set up to evolve a comprehensive, long-term water resource management strategic plan, the participants at the conclave said.
The hydro-meteorological setting in the upper reaches of the river in Tibet being very sensitive due to seismic activities, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in India have to suffer often from devastating flash floods. A trans-boundary arrangement for exchange of data on landslide, river-flow blockade due to natural or man-made activities have to be made available from China for disaster preparedness in the Indian part of the river, it said.
Flood mitigation etc: There must be a shift in the approach to flood mitigation, from the present massive investment only on local engineering solutions to developing robust, validated real-time flood forecasting systems and developing flood resilient shelters as a way of mitigation.
The underlying principle - to devise ways and means to live with the dynamic river - requires substantial funding for basin-scale basic and applied research as a solution to the engineering problems.
Flood forecasting and rescue/relief readiness information dissemination need to be made faster than the progress of flood using the latest ground and space-based communication technologies across the basin, like emergency shelters in cyclone-prone coastal areas, flood shelters with all basic amenities like food, drinking water and sanitation, medical help etc need to be built at the earliest in the vulnerable areas to minimise loss of life and livestock.
Real-time flood forecasting system for the Brahmaputra Basin should be developed by integrating smaller tributary-scale forecasting to a basin-scale forecasting model and connecting it with real-time weather forecasts from the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The system may be tuned with advanced techniques making use of regional rainfall data from rain measuring satellites such as Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission.
Further, it said a systematic study needs to be taken up immediately on development of a fluvial geomorphological model of the river system which will enable computer simulation/validation studies on various measures proposed for control of flood, erosion and sediment load, said the participants.
The conclave was attended by 172 participants, including representatives from research institutions, universities, colleges, engineering colleges, IITs from six North Eastern states, and several departments of the State and Union Governments and a number of research scholars and faculty members of Gauhati University. It was inaugurated by NEC member CK Das, said the press release.