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Dam It! Altering River Flow Does No One Any Good

Due to lack of operational rules and effective warning systems, dams are actually aggravating floods

Photo: Getty Images

In April 2022, the North Eastern Electrical Power Corporation (NEEPCO) issued a circular. It warned that the water levels in Ranganadi Dam were reaching dangerous levels. People living in the downstream area should stay away; otherwise, they would face “serious incidents at their own risk.” Flooding at Ranganadi dam has become a yearly phenomenon. In 2018, authorities were compelled to open three gates of this dam when the water levels reached a dangerous height. This caused massive flooding and as a result 76 villages were submerged.

This year, the flood in Assam has affected over 32 million people and left around 180 dead. The calamity has raised various questions, especially about big dam projects. As per a report by NewsClick, people in Raha, Kampur of Nagaon district, and Hojai district of Assam, were in an abysmal situation as the flood due to heavy rain was exacerbated by water released from various dams like Ranganadi Dam. Many studies have found that due to lack of operational rules and effective warning system, dams are actually aggravating floods, even though one of their functions is to moderate floods.

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