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Early flood warning system set up in Assam districts

July 22, 2013 20:26 IST

The Kathmandu-based International Centre of Integrated Mountain Development has launched a project to set up a hi-tech flood early warning system in the flood prone districts of Eastern Assam’s Dhemaji and Lakhimpur. 

The ICIMOD is implementing the project in collaboration with Aaranyak, a prominent biodiversity conservation organisation in NorthEast India.

A team of ICIMOD-Aaranyak researchers led by Dr Partha Jyoti Das have set up wireless Flood Early Warning System devices in certain locations after surveying flood affected areas of the two districts. 

ICIMOD-Aaranyak has so far set up five such wireless FEWS devices -- three in JiadhalRiver and two in SingoraRiver. Suitable sites in the upstream of the rivers are being surveyed for setting up two more such devices. The first wireless FEWS was set up on June 5, 2013.

The FEWS comprises the assembly of a flood gauge with a control unit powered by solar panels. The electronic sensors fitted inside the flood gauge are at different heights (to indicate different risk levels) and produce a sound when the water rises in the river.

The control unit is set up in a household living near the river. The household/family should volunteer to take responsibility of the instrument and disseminate the flood warning information in the village and other villages whenever required.

In an earlier initiative, ICIMOD-Aaranyak had set up cable-based Flood Early Warning System in 2010. The initiative was successful but most of these devices were destroyed by the devastating flood of August 15, 2011, in the Jiadhal River.

K Anurag in Guwahati