Sudden release of water from dams worsened Kerala floods

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  1. The amicus curiae appointed by the Kerala High Court has filed a report stating that main cause behind 2018 Kerala floods was heavy rainfall but poor dam management aggravated the damage during floods. The Kerala HC had appointed an amicus curiae based on a public interest litigation filed by former bureaucrat E. Sreedharan.
  2. The amicus curiae has informed the court that the sudden release of water simultaneously from different reservoirs during the extreme rainfall aggravated flooding conditions.
  3. The report has pointed out that the dams in Kerala did not have an effective flood control zone and flood cushions. It also noted that none of the 79 dams in the State were operated or used for the purpose of flood control and moderation. The National Water Policy, National Disaster Management Authority guidelines on flood and RTIO (real-time integrated operation) put obligations on dam operators to use dams for the purpose of flood control and moderation.
  4. The report also observed that the dams did not have EAP (Emergency Action Plan) despite the mandate of the National Disaster Management Authority to have it by 2009. EAP is a formal document prepared by the dam operator which contains identifies potential emergency conditions at a dam and specifies actions to be followed to prevent or lessen the impact in the case of a dam failure.
  5. The report further stated that various alerts (blue/orange/red) were not issued in accordance with the EAP guidelines. Further, no proper follow-up action and effective precautionary steps were taken after red alert.
  6. The amicus curiae has suggested a more detailed inquiry into the Kerala floods by an independent expert committee