IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


19th August, 2022 Geography

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  • Dhar Dam built on the Karam river, a tributary of the Narmada, threatened to flood 18 villages due to leakage. But the risk has been averted now.


Dam safety need of the hour:

  • Union Jal Shakti Minister informed the parliament that nearly 40 dams have collapsed in India since Independence. Dam collapsed, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives.
  • There are more than 5700 large dams in India, of which nearly 300 are over 100 years old, and around 1,100 dams are between 50 and 100 years old.
  • In addition to large dams, there are thousands of medium and small dams, and the population growth is becoming a serious challenge for water security.
  • Utilization of dam Water has become a core issue of disputes between various State Governments.
  • Dams play a key role in the development of the country, also provide water during non-monsoon sessions, and ensure food and energy security.
  • According to the Central Water Commission (CWC), the aging of dam assets poses a serious concern related to the sustainability of food and energy security of the country and could create water scarcity in large parts of India.
  • Safety of dams is important for protecting public investment, and also for ensuring continuity of benefits derived from dam projects

Dam Safety Act, 2021

  • The Dam Safety Act was enacted by Parliament in 2021.
  • The main objective of the act is to provide a mechanism for the surveillance, inspection, operation, and maintenance of all specified dams across the country.
  • The Act constitutes 2 National bodies:
  • The National Committee on Dam Safety.
  • National Dam Safety Authority.
  • It also constitutes 2 State bodies:
  • State Committee on Dam Safety.
  • State Dam Safety Organization.
  • These state-level bodies are responsible for the surveillance, inspection, and monitoring of the operation and maintenance of dams within their jurisdiction.
  • The functions of the National Committee on Dam Safety;
  • Developing policies and recommending regulations regarding dam safety standards in India.
  • The function of the National Dam Safety Authority;
  • To implement the policies of the National Committee on Dam Safety.
  • To provide technical assistance to State Dam Safety Organizations (SDSOs).
  • Resolving matters between SDSOs of states or between an SDSO and any dam owner in that state.
  • An offence can lead to imprisonment of up to 2 years, a fine, or both.
  • The Act applies to all specified dams built on both inter and intra-state rivers.
  • Dam owners will be liable for the safe construction, operation, maintenance and supervision of a dam. They need to provide a dam safety unit in each dam.
  • The Dam safety unit will inspect the dams:
  • Before and after the monsoon season.
  • During and after every earthquake, flood, calamity, or any sign of distress.
  • They will prepare an emergency action plan.
  • They will conduct risk assessment studies at regular intervals.
  • They will prepare a comprehensive dam safety evaluation.


Significance of Dams

  • Dams act as an artificial barrier to rivers.
  • They are used to store river water and help in irrigation, power generation, flood moderation, and water supply.
  • Dams higher than 15 m or between 10 m and 15 m in height and fulfil certain conditions are called large dams.
  • They are mainly operated by states; a few of them are under central public sector undertakings and private agencies.
  • As a large amount of river water is stored behind a dam, and its failure can cause large-scale damage to life and property. Therefore, it is essential to monitor the safety of the dam safety is essential.