Millennium Post

Managing extremes

Managing extremes

Climate Change can be observed by the sheer unpredictability of rainfall that has taken Western and Southern India by surprise. Surpassing previous day-limits of rainfall, floodlike situations have arisen in many parts of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Telangana, Kerala, et al. Mass-scale evacuation processes have been carried out amidst casualty reports building a very dismal picture of the monsoon season which is something that agricultural India looks forward to every year. Some 6 weeks ago, under the scorching sun of June, dams were empty and the drought-like situation was soaring. Water tankers had to be dispersed by state governments to control the dry situation and make water available for water-stressed districts. Even the receding water level in dams was alarming and raised caution. But in a matter of a few weeks all that has reversed and that too drastically. Now, those very districts in these states which were suffering from drought-like situations are facing imminent floods, if not already flooded. Disaster relief teams are dispatched to help locals as the rivers are overflowing and dams have reached their maximum limit. Opening dams will cause more floods and the situation is haywire, to say the least. In this extreme weather situation, there is a rising need to understand the impact of Climate Change. Unpredictability is the biggest foe here and, in essence, fighting something like that is not an easy task. Maharashtra government has taken cognisance of this development and sought a team of experts (task force), both global and local, to study the impact of Climate Change on Mumbai. As per the government's discretion, the task force will study steps taken against flooding and unplanned reclamation in cities such as Venice, Geneva and London, and coordinate with EU's European Climate Change Programme to prepare a blueprint of what needs to be done back home. Not just this but the need to participate in international dialogues on Climate Change is also one of the pressing needs at this hour for the impact of Climate Change is visible and scary. Research has to be necessarily conducted around patterns of Climate Change and measurement of extreme climatic actions have to be taken note of. Having conferences with countries already a step ahead in handling Climate Change impact will be highly beneficial as the same would kickstart our project to develop requisite action plans. The sheer destruction caused by sudden and monumental rainfall is something to be worried about and the same worry is going to urge us to look for solutions before this adversity returns in the next monsoon. The excess water for one could be stored or used to recharge groundwater but lack of planning and infrastructure is what is making that floodwater useless and destructive. Not just Mumbai, the proposal to set up a task force to study Climate Change patterns is required throughout the states which have been on the receiving end of this unprecedented rainfall and flood situation. It is imperative that this constitution of such a task force is done on a larger scale to bring in results and recommendations which could be utilised in making policies. Inter-state agreement or Centre's intervention is necessary here to facilitate the remedial measures as well as precautionary but above all is the need to bring n requisite infrastructure to sustain these drastic conditions.

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