DEHRADUN: After a study revealed that 16 out of 78 tehsils of Uttarakhand are vulnerable to Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF), scientists, experts said that continuous monitoring and assessment is needed to determine the threat factor.
According to the inventory of Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun the hill state has total of 1,266 glacial lakes.
"All of them are not a threat. Formation of a glacial lake is a natural process. Among them, the Moraine Dam poses a threat. But then all Moraine Dam glacial lakes are not dangerous. Only 10-11 may be at risk," says DP Dobhal, a glaciologist with Waisa institute.
The glaciologist explained that all lakes are not a threat but 10-12 of those in the category of Moraine lake category of the glacial lakes.
"Hemkund Saheb lake is also a glacial lake but it is a stable one. These lakes are part of the ecosystem which is in existence since millennia. We must be vigilant about the lakes which are vulnerable to bursting resulting in GLOF," said Dobhal.
Meanwhile, Central Water Commission is conducting simulation studies on the lake formed in the Rishi Ganga river, 8kms upstream from Raini village and also examining the possibility of carrying out a controlled blast to drain out the water.
In December 2020, Uttarakhand government had submitted an action taken report to the state high court, recommending constitution of a high power committee comprising the secretaries of disaster management and information technology departments, inspector general of police of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), directors of Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology and of Indian Institute of Remote Sensing for an effective response to any natural disasters that may occur in the region.
The recommendation was part of a report by the government listing the steps it is planning to take for monitoring Gangotri glacier region at the mouth of the Gaumukh glacier, the origin of the river Ganga.
The report said, "It would be appropriate for the Department of Disaster Management to nominate Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology as the Nodal Organisation to monitor inaccessible areas which are prone to similar disaster, using technical resources. Apart from monitoring the inaccessible regions of Uttarakhand, the Institute shall also propose for responses in case disasters take place."
The report further said that in order to ensure an efficacious response to disasters, it would be appropriate to form a "High Power Committee comprising the Secretary- Department of Disaster Management, Secretary-Information technology, Inspector General of Police- SDRF, Director- Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology and Director-Indian Institute of Remote Sensing."
In July 2018, the HC had directed the state government to rope in Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology to study the status of the artificial lake forming in the Gangotri glacier region.
The directions came while hearing public interest litigation filed by Delhi-based Ajay Gautam in 2017.