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Subject: Mosoonal flood management
Nanheyangrouchuan    11/29/2006 2:34:33 PM
I watched a TV show about India's monsoons and droughts and was curious as to what kind of flood control programs does India have to trap that monsoonal water and replenish aquifers?
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olive greens       11/29/2006 7:42:05 PM

Many local governments (from state to village level) have programs for digging reservoirs to trap rainwater, as well as provide employment for farmers during the off-season. Some are mindless political-plans aimed at gathering votes from the farmers with promise of "100 days of employment a year", and are not surprisingly very disorganized (if they go into effect at all). Others are really community-motivated (and some very heroic) efforts aimed at surviving droughts. Droughts are a particularly vexing problems in the northern regions of my state (near the Deccan Plateau), and some communities have tried very hard to trap rainwater. But to really solve it it would require a larger, State or even Center level plan to maybe build massive canals from Western Ghats (which have some of the highest recorded rainfall in the world) to the Plateau as was done in Punjab.

As you can imagine, in my state at least, if we still have problems with such a dire threat not much thought is spared towards flood management. Daily survival takes a much higher priority than future planning - especially when its a state-dependant, electorally sensitive issue.
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Nanheyangrouchuan       11/30/2006 2:38:25 AM
Well, local efforts are nice, but I'm talking about storm water management, its a big deal in the US and I'm sure in Europe as well.  Quite a few big schools have engineering PhDs in this field.

I have a little experience in this, and local farmers hand diggging trenches and small reseviors won't cut it.  Considering the volume of the seasonal monsoons, an effective drainage and retention pond plan might require 1000 miles of canals over 10% of India's land mass.

different US states have different soil types, underground hydrology, weather patterns and 100 & 500 flood activities, so plans will be different, but if India is going to have enough water to be industrially competitive, you need these kinds of plans.
State governments and the US Army Corps of Engineers usually take the lead in these projects, only needing to meet EPA water quality regs.

If you know people in provincial gov'ts or in New Dehli, they should be aware of these techniques. No advanced technology is required, just good flow modeling software, Land Development Desktop and alot of heavy construction equipment.

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Nanheyangrouchuan       12/1/2006 10:02:16 PM
", but many a semi-literate and illiterate, but street-smart village  politicians seem to get the better of experienced engineers and technocrats, both in Nepal and Northen India"

They would know the soil conditions better.  But I am not talking about "linking rivers" in a massive irrigation project.  Isn't it true that most of India gets its water from groundwater?  The purpose of a storm water management system, including highly pervious detention ponds, is to allow water to re-enter the soil (and the soil will remove alot of pollutants).

The chinese aren't "planning ahead" with their water diversion schemes, they are trying to play catch-up.  The Yellow River is dry for almost half of the year from Beijng to Tianjin and the rest is very silty and very polluted.  The Yangtze River is the world's longest open sewer.  The 3 gorges dam is going to be rendered useless from silt accumulation long before any missile flies in its general direction.

China doesn't have "monsoons" like India has, so there is no "manna from heaven" once a year that can be captured and redirected. 

Anyway, read those google links to US state storm management plans, open irrigation is not part of any of them, open trench irrigation is a waste of water and energy.
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