be complete only by 2022, a senior official has said.

Secretary (Water Resources) S. K. Sarkar said in an interview that the inundation maps will make use of data obtained through remote sensing technology and help district administration officials estimate how much area will be covered by flood waters.

He said water resources ministry will increase the number of forecasting stations and move towards preparing inundation maps for the flood-prone areas of the country in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) period, adding that the exercise would be completed by the 13th Plan (2017-22) period.

"Inundation mapping requires contour maps and river data. The Central Water Commission (CWC), Survey of India and National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSC) are working on the issue," Sarkar said.

The inundation maps will pictorially represent areas that would come under water for every meter’s increase in a river's level above the danger mark.

The total flood-prone area in the country has been estimated to be 45.65 million hectares based on reports by states to the working group on a flood control programme for the 10th Plan.

Sarkar said more observation and monitoring stations will help improve forecast and allow greater time gap in issuing flood warnings.

"The CWC (Central Water Commission) has estimated that there was need for 2,795 hydrological observation stations in the country. There are 878 observation stations at present. We intend to set up 800 more during the 12th Plan period," Sarkar said.

In the case of the Uttarakhand disaster it has become evident that while the state government was warned of heavy rain 48 hours in advance, there was no warning of floods in the affected areas.

Sarkar emphasized there has to be a long term solution to the problem of floods. "Better forecasting and inundation plans will help in flood management," he said.

The national water policy 2012 states that flood forecasting is very important for flood preparedness and should be expanded extensively, modernized using real time data acquisition system and linked to forecasting models.

It says that flood inundation maps should be prepared to evolve coping strategies. The policy states that efforts should be towards developing physical models for various basin sections, which should be linked to each other and to medium range weather forecasts to enhance lead time.


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