- GS-2: India and its neighborhood- relations.
- GS-2: Security challenges and their management in border areas
India-Nepal Flood Management
Context: Chronic flooding in north Bihar (the Mithilanchal region) and Tarai region in Nepal
Geological Reasons for Floods
- A large part of north Bihar, adjoining Nepal, is drained by a number of rivers that have their catchments in the steep and geologically nascent Himalayas.
- Originating in Nepal, the high discharge and sediment load in the Kosi, Gandak, Burhi Gandak, Bagmati, Kamla Balan, Mahananda and Adhwara Group wreak havoc in the plains of Nepal’s Tarai and Bihar.
- The deposition of stones, sand, silt and sediment has led to river beds rising, changing course and causing unimaginable losses. Between the mid-18th and mid-20th centuries, the Kosi is said to have shifted over 100 kilometres westward, resulting in large-scale human displacements.
- The Kosi Treaty of 1954, under which the embankments in Nepal were established and maintained, was not futuristic and did not make enough provisions for the maintenance of embankments and the rivers changing their course.
- Also, the indifference shown by Nepal on matters of floods and water management in recent years has further complicated the situation.
- Consequently, not much has happened barring the use of water resources for hydroelectric generation.
- Bilateral Agreement: A dedicated intergovernmental panel needs to be formed through a bilateral mechanism between India and Nepal, that in turn can study, assess and offer solutions to this shared crisis.
- Climate Conscious Development: There is a need for greater sensitization on climatic imbalances and sustainable development. Ironically, the same flood-affected regions also face the issue of drought and a sinking water table.
Connecting the dots: