Koshi Basin Research Highlighted in India’s Largest Selling Daily

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Embankment caused further damage in Bihar
Photo: Dr Biplab Dhak, ANSISS

Embankment in Koshi Basin has further increased flood damage. This new finding was based on a research by ICIMOD Koshi Basin Programme partner AN Sinha Institute of Social Science (ANSISS) Patna, India. The research was highlighted in one of India’s largest selling daily newspapers, Dainik Jagaran, with a circulation of more than 16 million.  

Published in its print edition on 28 July 2016, the newspaper also highlighted support by ICIMOD Koshi Basin Programme and Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for ANSISS’s research in 11 flood affected districts of India’s Koshi Basin representing 32 villages of Bihar. The study was supported by ICIMOD KBP in partnership with the Australian government through the Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP), and led by D.M. Diwakar, director of ANSISS. Professor Diwakar explained that there was a need for critical thinking especially over the past mistakes, and consequently affected the local communities the most.

The newspaper reported that in a state like Bihar, where frequent floods have caused damage on private and public properties and affected the local population, flood embankment was an important issue. ANSISS conducted field surveys in four different regions: within embankment region, outside embankment region, without embankment and unprotected region, and flood-protected region. 

Floods have affected livelihoods and there is need to plant flood-tolerance crops
Photo: Dr Biplab Dhak, ANSISS

The research found that in the protection region, there were some improvements in livelihoods during the initial 25 years after embankment was constructed, but now that the ground water-level is depleting, people are demanding water from the Koshi River. In the villages lying within the embankment region, water-logging area was increasing after the embankment’s length was extended, directly impacting livelihoods and creating a host of other problems. In addition, the region without embankment also has serious problems and threatened the livelihoods of people in hundreds of villages.

The research further pointed out that understanding on per-capita water availability in the basin is lacking. In addition, there is also a serious concern about the lack of flood early warning systems. For the improvement of livelihoods in this regions, the research recommends to plant flood-tolerance crops in the region, promote water based livelihoods and technologies, and also that the sand-trapped system within embankment should be used for infrastructures in the Koshi Basin areas.