Storage Reservoirs for Flood Mitigation

Added Advantages and the Way Forward

Iftikhar A Drabu
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jul 18 2018 11:22PM | Updated Date: Jul 18 2018 11:22PM
Storage Reservoirs for Flood MitigationFile Photo

In an earlier write up published in GK last week I had discussed about flood protection and mitigation through storage reservoirs. Here I will touch upon the other advantages and benefits, besides flood protection, of these reservoirs and briefly comment on the way forward towards implementing this proposal.

Besides flood protection and mitigation, adopting reservoir proposal has several other advantages as briefly summarized below:

i. Sediment control – since the sediment will get deposited in the reservoir the river will carry far less silt and sediment. As a consequence, the need for desilting of the river will be minimal and in turn it will prolong the live storage capacity water bodies including that of Wullar which is said to have lost 40% of its storage capacity in the last 5 decades. 

ii. Saving Karewas: The silt deposited in these reservoirs could be used as fill material (instead of excavating our karewas – we have already flattened large tracts of karewas) for infrastructure projects like the new bypass (NH444) or for common filling or even for other purposes, like making bricks, for which we currently are excavating and destroying prime agricultural land.   

iii. Micro Hydro Power: Small dam toe hydro power plants could be set up at each of the reservoir location. These plants could generate enough energy to feed a few villages in the area

iv. Improved Hydro Power Generation: One can use these storage reservoirs to improve our hydro power generation in Lower Jhelum HEP, Uri I and Uri II HEPs. During lean flows the storage could be operated in such as manner as to provide water to these plants during peak load.   

v. Tourist Resorts: These reservoirs could be developed as tourist resorts including developing water related recreational facilities like boating, camping sites etc.

vi. Pisciculture: These reservoirs could be used to grow fish  

vii. Ground Water Recharge: The reservoir would go a long way in recharging the ground water in large areas around these reservoirs

viii. Augment Irrigation Schemes: If properly connected with the existing canal and khul networks, these reservoirs could provide year round water availability for irrigation, be for rice cultivation or for orchards 

ix. Augment Water Supply Schemes:  We could draw upon these reservoirs to provide for drinking water for major portion of the year. These could become the source of many water supply schemes needed to cater to the growing population of the Valley. 

x. Inter Sub-Basin Management: By interconnecting the various sub basins we could better manage the water allocations in case one basin runs dry while other has water


Preliminary Study

Given the current advances in GIS providing precise topographical information about any location, a reasonably accurate study can be undertaken on the proposal from within the confines of one’s office. Post the desk study, some hydrological and some geological investigations would need to be carried out to firm up the study.  


In simple terms, the reservoirs essentially comprise of an earthen embankments, grout curtain and appropriate structures for release of water while draining the reservoir or while it spills water. These would be simple hydraulic structures in concrete with appropriate steel gates for control. The design of these dams and the concrete structures could be standardized and possibly some of the elements could even be precast. The steel gates could easily be standardized.



With Irrigation and Flood Control Department as the nodal agency for execution and implementation of the project, these dams and the associated structures could be constructed using local materials, manpower and with equipment available with the local contractors. We do not need to involve large and experienced contractors from the plains to construct these dams.  Local self help groups of qualified engineers could also be involved. Wherever needed, construction equipment on rent could be made available by agencies like JKPCC. Mechanical Engineering Department (MED) could be funded to procure appropriate equipment which could then be rented / leased to contractors.   



Appropriate central and/or state funding would be required for undertaking these works. Since these reservoirs would be constructed in the rural belts of the valley one could explore the possibility of using rural development department (RDD) funding for them since local unskilled and semi-skilled labor could be engaged thereby providing employment opportunities to them. Funding such projects would be certainly better use of resources compared to RDD projects since benefits from assets created here would be immense. To address the rural development department stakeholder some of the minor works or even minor projects could be executed through the rural development department after strengthening it on the technical and financial management side. 


Depending on the resource availability the project could be phased and executed in multiple phase. The big advantage of this Construction of each reservoir in each phase would help in reducing and lowering the flood risk unlike de-silting where you require the desilting to be completed before you get full results or maximum benefits.



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