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DEERS J&K, ISRO study confirms heavy rains, cloud bursts caused Sept floods

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SRINAGAR: The Department of Environment, Ecology and Remote Sensing (DEERS) has completed the study on the satellite based rapid assessment on Floods in Jammu and Kashmir in collaboration with the National Remote Sensing Centre, ISRO, Hyderabad.
The report presented to the Government by Director DEERS, Suresh Chugh says that Jammu and Kashmir faced unprecedented floods of the century. Incessant rains in the first week of September lead to massive floods in the valley as well as in Jammu region.
The report reveals that the floods in Jammu and Kashmir were as a result of High rainfall in the catchments over short period of time, which amounts to cloud bursts and is a combined effect of the extreme event and less capacity of the drainage system to hold the quantum of water resulting in overflowing of banks and ultimately lead to the floods.
The Department of Environment and Remote Sensing was in constant touch with the National Remote Sensing Agency of ISRO Hyderabad, right from the day one and they were asked to position satellites for providing day to day imageries of the progressing floods. The imageries were being uploaded on the NRSC website as well as on the website of the department simultaneously during the floods. The communication network of the valley had completely collapsed. Therefore, after discussions with the NRSC the Department of Environment and Remote Sensing sent its Scientist to NRSC Hyderabad to work on the imageries and collect data on floods and prepare a joint report on the event and analyse it with authenticity.
Majid Farooq, Scientist of Department of Environment and Remote Sensing was stationed in Hyderabad for a week and he and his team worked on the report with the scientists of NRSC- ISRO.
There were incessant rains on 4th September for continuous 30hrs and in three days the rainfall touched 450 mm which was very unusual. Normally, rains take place in J and K from July to mid-September. On 3rd Sept there was a rainfall deficit of 32 per cent but on 8th September it showed excess of 18 per cent i.e. a change of 50 per cent in five days. There was a confluence of three main rain bearing systems over Punjab that lead to heavy rains in Kashmir. Three hourly rainfall data has been collected for the study. Rainfall data estimates from TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) of NASA, USA has also been considered in the report. Lidder Catchment received the maximum rain fall of 277 mm with adjoining catchments receiving around 200 mm of rainfall which was way above normal. Various catchments like Vishu, Sandran, Bringi, Kuthar, Arbal, Rambiara Gazan, Doodhganga received very heavy rainfall leading to floods.
Detailed mapping of the progression of floods on day to day basis and regression have been done. Inundation layers have been overlapped with water body map to exclude them. Municipal layer and Mohalla layers of Srinagar city have also been used in the report.
The report indicates that in all 557 km2 area was inundated, which is about 3.5 per cent of the area of the state. Out of this 444 km2 was Agriculture land, 20 km2 Horticulture land, 67 km2 built up area, 3 km2 forest area, 21 km2 wasteland and 2 km2 others. An approximate population of 22 lakhs was affected covering 287 villages.
The report also suggests strategy to protect the cities from floods in future like feasibility study for construction of parallel flood channel from Sangam/Kandizal to Wular. Drudging on regular intervals, monitoring of sediments, land use, land cover, maintaining sanctity of Wetlands and Water bodies, climate change adaptation and mitigation etc have been suggested. It also suggests need for a multidisciplinary team to study hydrological response of each catchment.
Suresh Chugh said that the report gives very authentic details about flood and will be useful for future planning.

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