Issuing advance flood warning will now be possible to prevent loss of lives and property with Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) on Friday commissioning country's first Real Time Decision Support System (RTDSS) centre for operation of Bhakra and Pong reservoirs here.
Entailing capital outlay of about Rs 35 crore, this World Bank-aided hydrology project will allow BBMB to forecast likely rainfall and temperature in the catchment areas of Sutlej and Beas, enabling it to warn state authorities of Punjab to take measures and avert human and property loss with the release of excess water, BBMB Chairman A B Agrawal said on Friday.
"There was always a danger of flooding in downstream areas (of Sutlej river) as we did not have any system to forecast how much water will flow in or how much rain or snow melting will be there. With the help of RTDSS, we will now be able to issue warning to state government in advance to take measures in downstream areas when (excess) water is released," Agrawal said.
Under the RTDSS system, BBMB has installed 85 data acquisition system stations comprising automatic rain gauge stations, automatic full climate stations, water level recorders in the catchment areas of Sutlej and Beas falling in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir to provide data on real time basis.
"We will be able to give forecast for next 24 hours at present under RTDSS system. Gradually, this forecast for rainfall and temperature will also be available with us for next 7 days but it will take time," he said.
Besides allowing advance flood warning, RTDSS will also help BBMB to take decisions pertaining to scheduling of water release from Bhakra and Pong reservoirs, operation of spillway gates and running of hydropower turbines.
People living in downstream areas of Sutlej and Beas rivers in Punjab used to complain about flooding as and when BBMB releases "excess" water in the wake of "excessive" rains or heavy snow melting in catchment areas.
Bhakra and Pong dams have maximum water filling capacity of 1,680 feet and 1,390 feet respectively. Partnering states --Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan get water from Bhakra and Pong reservoirs for different purposes including irrigation.