India announces new dam safety measures

India is launching the latest software version of the Dam Health and Rehabilitation Monitoring Application (DHARMA) tool and introducing seven new dam safety guidelines aimed at helping the country focus on dam rehabilitation using a variety of best practices.

Officials from the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation made the announcement on Jan. 23 during the International Dam Safety Conference in Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital of Kerala, India.

The seven new dam safety guidelines will be released today under the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP). The World Bank initially funded DRIP with about US$350 million in 2010 and provided an additional $31.5 million in 2012 from which the program is being implemented for eight years ending in 2020.

DRIP is designed for rehabilitation and improvement of about 250 dams, initially in the seven states of Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Uttarakhand. The program is also designed to strengthen institutional and project management in Central Water Commission (CWC) and other implementing agencies, according to CWC.

CWC is a water resources technical organization in India that is attached to the government’s office of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. CWC has three departments: Designs and Research, River Management, and Water Planning and Projects.

DHARMA is a web-based software package developed from DRIP resources. It is custom designed to enhance the capacity of individuals and organizations throughout India to manage their dam assets scientifically and professionally to sustain irrigation and water supply, flood control, hydropower and prevent disasters, according to CWC.

CWC says DHARMA will address four main challenges:

  • Bringing stakeholders together (i.e., dam owners, operators, consultants, contractors and suppliers);
  • Ensuring dam information is complete (i.e., gathering and updating dam asset information in a structured, centralized database);
  • Periodically assessing dam health; and
  • Providing a complete data collection and management platform.

According to CWC, there are about 4,900 large dams in India and about 300 under construction. In addition, there are several thousand smaller dams. All of these dams are vital for ensuring the water security of the country in a sustainable manner and regulating water during the rainy season to prevent floods.

Source : Hydroworld.com