LAHORE: Flash floods may occur River Ravi this month as water level in Thein dam, a flood reservoir located on the river near the Madhupur Headworks, is on the rise, a Metrological Department official cautioned on Wednesday.
Talking to The Express Tribune, the official said that currently water flow to the dam was about 15,000 cusecs. “The water level in the lake is rising. The dam may get filled soon with rain water increasing the chances of Ravi reaching flood level on our side,” he said.
Though India has been sharing flood data with Pakistan, the official said, there is a chance the figures maybe inaccurate or misinterpreted.
Hazrat Mir, the Flood Forecasting Division Lahore chief meteorologist, said that there was no immediate threat, but chances of a flood in the current season could not be ruled out. He said that even a low-level flood posed danger to the settlements in the river bed from Shahdara onwards.
“We recommended the federal government in 2008 to increase the number of cuts on the GT Road parallel to the railway line to provide an escape channel for flood water,” he said, adding that no progress had so far been made in this regard.
Mir stressed that the provincial government, the City District Government of Lahore (CDGL) and the Irrigation and Power Department should by now have evolved a strategy to relocate the inhabitants of the settlements in the river bed. “A delay in this regard can have disastrous consequences,” he said.
Jamaat Ali Shah, Pakistan’s Indus Water commissioner, said that both India and Pakistan are bound by an agreement signed during the three-day meeting of the Indus Water commissioners that concluded on July 21, 2010, to share daily flood data from July 1 to October 10 every year.
He said that the National Disaster Management Authority, the Federal Flood Commission and the Metrological departments were keeping a close watch over data trends.
A met official, however sounded a warning, “With an upper riparian like India, one must always be very vigilant with our flood management system.”
The Indian projects on the Ravi include the 198 MW Baira-Suil Hydroelectric Power Project, the 540 MW Chamera-I, the 600 MW Ranjitsagar Multipurpose Project and the 300 MW Chamera-II.
Sajjad Ahmed Bhutta, the district coordination officer (DCO), said that the district administration was prepared to deal with any situation. He said that the necessary arrangements had been finalised. However, he could not come up with a definite response on a query about the evacuation of the settlements in the danger zone.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2010.
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