Heavy siltation in Wular Lake, Anchar, Hokersar, Shalbugh posing an imminent danger
SRINAGAR As Kashmir observes fourth anniversary of devastating 2014 floods this year, there has been continuous reduction in carrying capacity of water bodies over the years due to siltation and encroachments.
On September 7, 2014, the Kashmir was hit by the devastating floods. Most parts of Kashmir remained under water for over a week. The devastating floods left around 300 people dead and rendered thousands of people homeless.
The Wular Lake which is the largest flood absorption basin has lost the water carrying capacity due to host of factors. Several surveys have found that gross human interference, deforestation, encroachments, chocking of waterways and reduction in capacity of wetlands due to heavy siltation poses an imminent threat of floods even by average downpour.
The capacity of retaining water in water bodies has reduced over the years. 20 percent area of the Wullar Lake has reduced due to the siltation. Other water bodies like Anchar, Hokersar, Shalbugh have also witnessed siltation which leads reduction in retaining water capacity. Even the moderate rainfall poses a threat of flood in the Valley, an official of I&FC department said.
He said state is not permitted to construct reservoirs on its rivers due to Indus Water Treaty that could have helped the Valley during floods.
The Indus Water Treaty between India-Pakistan has placed curbs on the construction of storage reservoirs on rivers in J&K which could ensure the provision of requisite water flow.
According to a disaster management report, 13 districts in J&K have been identified as ‘Multi Hazard Districts’ and called for pro-active, holistic and comprehensive approach towards disaster risk reduction and management
Majority areas of the Valley, especially Sonawari, Awantipora and Srinagar, along with parts of Jammu are prone to floods. Upper catchments of all the tributaries of the Jhelum, Indus, Chenab and Tawi rivers are prone to flash floods, the report says. (KNS)