GUWAHATI, Aug 13 - In the first-of-its-kind initiative in the Northeast, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) today launched the urban flood early warning system (FEWS) to predict floods in State capital Guwahati. The system has been developed by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in association with Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA). Launched at an online event, the fully automated web-based tool will help local authorities to alert about flash floods and/or heavy rainfall, which in turn, will help them to take timely and appropriate measures in the event of a natural disaster befalling the city.
It is the first web-based graphical user interface portal for urban flood forecasting system in the entire northeastern region. The fully automated system which uses advanced hydrological models to provide warning with a lead time of 72 hours is replicable across India.
Developed under TERI�s project supported by the NDMA in collaboration with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and ASDMA, the tool can be replicated to predict urban floods in any part of the country. The FEWS pilot project was undertaken on an experimental basis to enhance resilience for urban floods, in association with the Guwahati Municipal Corporation, North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC) and TERI School of Advanced Studies (TERI SAS).
Pankaj Chakravarty, State Project Coordinator, ASDMA, told The Assam Tribune that the initiative was in line with the Prime Minister�s recent statement during a meeting with the chief ministers of six states � Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala � where he had highlighted the need for development of local-level flood warning systems.
Stating that together with science communication, the results of these assessments can enhance the resilience of flood-prone cities and geographies in the country, Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, TERI, said that nature-based risks could now be integrated into early warning system.
�We are delighted that our FEWS assessments can provide a flood management road map for cities that have perennial issues of urban flooding,� he added.
GVV Sarma, Member Secretary, NDMA said the expectations of the civil society on the disaster management apparatus was increasing every day and that despite many advances in science and technology, a lot of work remained to be done. �Along with early warning system, we need techno-legal measures on ground such as protection of water bodies, solid waste management and cleaning of drainage channels ahead of the monsoon,� he said.
BP Yadav, DGM, Hydrology, IMD, New Delhi, stressed on building flood forecasting capabilities at the local level. �We have categorised the country into 27,000 watersheds, and based on it, we issue flood warnings. With increasing incidents of urban flooding, our main focus is to develop local city-specific forecasting systems for accurate advisory,� he said.
�Currently, there are 25 Doppler weather radars in India to detect/predict likelihood of high-intensity rainfall events. IMD will install 20 radars in hill districts in the Eastern and Western Himalayas in the next two years,� he said.
FEWS uses IMD�s weather research forecast (WRF) model results of precipitation to simulate the hydrodynamic model for flood prediction and sends out early warning. The system is developed with an inbuilt urban drainage to predict flood at street-level accuracy. The flood level and hotspot areas can be visualised over Google maps which will help in identifying flood-affected areas, disaster preparedness, and management of urban flooding-related issues such as traffic disruption, providing relief and recovery, and managing storm water.