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Thursday, 17 September 2020

Flood abatement steps save farmers of misery

Geetanjali Gayatri

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16

Though rain was 5 per cent short this monsoon in the last two months, the state managed to restrict flooding to less than 3,000 acres this year against 1.2 lakh acres last year due to better preparedness and a proactive approach when it came to flood abatement and control.

Though Haryana received 351.50 mm rain against normal rainfall of 371.60 mm, its distribution was uneven across the state, with some districts receiving rain in excess of 2 per cent to 56 per cent while others were deficient by 1 per cent to 62 per cent.

The altered climatic conditions changed the rainfall pattern, where rain intensity was high in a short period between July 1 and September 2 this year.

The Irrigation Department re-engineered and planned the dewatering strategy differently despite flood control works remaining stalled through the entire lockdown and monsoon, ahead of schedule by a few days this year.

"We began by ensuring that all pumps at our disposal were in working condition. Departing from the tradition of allowing water to accumulate till September 30 and then beginning the process of dewatering the fields, we decided to go right ahead with the process soon after it rained. Consequently, though 48,040 acres were submerged this year, less than 3,000 acres remained to be dewatered," said Additional Chief Secretary (Irrigation), Devender Singh.

The mere advancing of the dewatering schedule changed the flooding pattern in Haryana this monsoon. The department, through regular monitoring and exhaustive planning, installed pumps in chronic low-lying areas which faced flooding every monsoon and used mobile pumps in other temporary areas which were flooded this season to drain out water, saving crop loss for farmers.

The water was drained out from these pockets in just over three weeks against the usual period of three months since operations began after the monsoon was over.

According to information available, the maximum rainfall of 461 mm against 296.3 mm was recorded in Kaithal, while Panchkula, with a rainfall of 301.6 mm against a normal of 786.1 mm, recorded the least rainfall.

from The Tribune

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