POST TIME: 7 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 6 September, 2018 11:06:32 PM
Experts warn moderate flood in country in mid-September
Anisur Rahman Khan

Experts warn moderate flood in country in mid-September

The country is likely to face a moderate flood in mid-September due to the release of excess water into the Brahmaputra by China in the upstream. However, experts have brushed aside the possibility of any severe flood in Bangladesh. Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, two North-eastern states of India, were put on high alert after China reported that the water level of the Tsangpo river had risen to the highest mark in the past 50 years due to heavy rainfall.

The Chinese report said the Tsangpo river was swelling “with an observed discharge of 9,020 cumec of water”. Against this backdrop, the Bangladesh high commission in India has sent an urgent fax to Dhaka, informing that “there are fears that release of excess water by China may cause floods in the downstream of Brahmaputra, which may have impact on Bangladesh too”.

Meanwhile, floods have inundated four districts in Assam, affecting over 12,000 people. Brahmaputra and its tributaries have been flowing above the danger level, as per Indian media reports.

Now, about 30,000–40,000 cumec of water was flowing in Brahmaputra, former water expert at UN SI Khan told The Independent yesterday.

“Considering the distance, there is no fear of any severe flood in Bangladesh following the release of excess water by China,” he added.

The excess water would flow into Roumari in Bangladesh through Meghalaya via Assam and Bihar, he said, adding that there were many tributaries and rivers in the upstream of the river before it entered the country.

“There are possibilities for flood in Bangladesh if China releases more water and heavy rainfall occurs in the upstream during this period,” the water expert said.

The Challan Beel and adjacent low-lying areas will be flooded due to upstream flood waters, he added.

Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) officials rejected the prospect of any severe flood as per data received by the country from India.

“There is no possibility of any flood in Bangladesh due to the discharge of excess water by China. It would take at least seven days for the water to flow into our country’s river. We are observing the situation now and will put up an alert accordingly,” BWDB executive engineer Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan said. Bangladesh was alert about the message sent from India, but the area where flood occurred is very far from the country, he added.

“We are prepared to face any flood. We are not rejecting the possibility of a flood, whether moderate or severe. The departments concerned are prepared as per the message,” state minister for water resources Nazrul Islam said. The Siang river in China enters India through Arunachal Pradesh and flows downstream to join the Brahmaputra. The respective state governments have put up alerts fearing a rise in water level of the Siang in Arunachal Pradesh and of the Brahmaputra in Assam’s Dibrugarh district.

According to water experts in India, a series of earthquakes in November last year had destroyed some of the natural landslide dams on the Tsangpo river, causing the water of the Siang and the Brahmaputra to turn brown or black in colour for a long time.

Parthajyoti Das, a noted water expert based in Guwahati of Assam, said that the rising water level of Tsangpo since July could be due to a combination of different factors. There is a possibility that initially the water level increased in the Siang and then more water entered the river due to the breakdown of some of the natural landslide dams that were created on Tsangpo last year, he added.