SRINAGAR: A study jointly conducted by J&K Department of Department of Environment, Ecology and Remote Sensing (DEERS) and National Remote Sensing Centre, ISRO, Hyderabad has revealed that unprecedented rainfall in the first week of September triggered worst-ever floods in the State.
“The floods in Jammu and Kashmir were 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,” reveals the study.
The Department of Environment, Ecology and Remote Sensing (DEERS) completed the study on the satellite based rapid assessment on floods in collaboration with the National Remote Sensing Centre, ISRO, Hyderabad.
It said there were incessant rains on September 4 for continuous 30 hours. “In three days, the rainfall touched 450 mm, which was very unusual.”
According to study, normally rainfall takes place in J&K from July to mid-September.
“On September 3 there was a rainfall deficit of 32% but on September 8, it showed excess of 18% i.e. a change of 50% in five days. There was a confluence of three main rain bearing systems over Punjab that lead to heavy rains in Kashmir,” it said.
Stating that rainfall data estimates from Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) of NASA, US was also considered in the report, the study revealed that Lidder catchment in Pahalgam in South Kashmir received the maximum rain fall of 277 mm with adjoining catchments receiving around 200 mm rainfall, which was way above normal.
Other catchments also received very heavy rainfall leading to floods.
The study discloses that 557 sq km area was inundated, which is about 3.5% of the area of the state. “Out of this, 444 sq km was agriculture land, 20 sq km horticulture land, 67 sq km built up area, 3 sq km forest area, 21 sq km wasteland and 2 sq km others”.
About 22 lakh people were affected by the floods and over three lakh structures were damaged. 285 people were killed in the floods and Valley’s business capital Srinagar is yet to recover from the water fury.
The report also suggested measures to protect the cities from floods in future by conducting feasibility study for construction of parallel flood channel from Sangam/Kandizal to Wular (South Kashmir to North Kashmir).
It also suggested drudging of water bodies on regular intervals, monitoring of sediments, land use, land cover, maintaining sanctity of wetlands and water bodies, climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The report also suggested need for a multidisciplinary team to study hydrological response of each catchment.