The World Bank has approved $175 million for India’s ambitious National Hydrology Project to improve its ability to forecast floods and reduce vulnerability to recurring floods and droughts.
The loan has been issued from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) with maturity of 23 years. It also has a six-year grace period in which no interest payments will be due.
About National Hydrology Project (NHP)
- NHP was approved by the Union cabinet in April 2016 as a central sector scheme with a total outlay of Rs 3679 crore. Later it was approved by the World Bank Board.
- Of the total fund, Rs 3,640 crore will be spent for the national project, remaining Rs 39 crore will be used to establish National Water Informatics Centre (NWIC) as a repository of nation-wide water resources data.
- It aims at improving extent, quality, and accessibility of water resources information, decision support system for floods and basin level resource planning and strengthen capacity of institutions in India.
- It is expected to take forward the success of the Hydrology Project-I and Hydrology Project-II by covering the entire country, including the states along the Ganga and Brahmaputra-Barak basins.
- Earlier Project-I and Project-II were limited only to large river systems viz. Krishna and Satluj-Beas. They had established real-time flood forecast systems to give reservoir managers an accurate picture of the water situation in their region.
- The early forecast had increased the time available for early flood warnings and improved flood management preparation from hours to days, saving hundreds of lives and avoided flood damages of $65 million a year.
Potential Advantages NHP
- It will strengthen the capacity of existing institutions to assess the water situation and equip them with real-time flood forecast systems across the country.
- It will help the states monitor all the important aspects of the hydro-meteorological cycle and adopt the procedures laid out in the earlier projects.
- It will help communities to plan in advance to build resilience against flooding and droughts due to uncertainties of climate change
- It will reduce the vulnerability of many regions to recurring floods and droughts as absence of real-time ground information for the entire country creates difficulties in issuing alerts on time.