IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


17th July, 2023 Geography

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Warning issued by the Office of the Deputy Commissioner (DC) in Ri Bhoi district, Meghalaya, regarding the rising water level of Umiam Dam.


  • The Office of the Deputy Commissioner (DC) in Ri Bhoi district, Meghalaya has issued a warning regarding the rising water level of Umiam Dam.
  • The water level reached 3205.75 feet as of July 14, prompting concerns about potential flooding.

Warning and Cautionary Measures

  • The administration has cautioned residents living downstream of Umiam Dam.
  • Strong advice is given to stay away from streams, drains, and culverts.
  • Water may be released if the reservoir's level continues to rise, posing risks to affected areas.

Preparing for a Flood

  • The DC's office emphasizes the need for necessary precautions in the event of a flood.
  • Residents are urged to be prepared and take appropriate measures to ensure their safety.
  • Stay updated with official communications and follow evacuation instructions if issued.

Avoiding Electrocution Risks

  • Citizens are specifically warned to steer clear of electric poles and power lines.
  • Flooding can pose a risk of electrocution due to contact with live electrical infrastructure.
  • It is crucial to maintain a safe distance from such hazards to avoid potential harm.

About Umiam Dam

  • Umiam Dam, also known as Barapani Dam, is a significant reservoir located in the Ri Bhoi district of Meghalaya, India.
  • It is constructed on the Umiam River, a tributary of the Brahmaputra River.
  • The dam serves multiple purposes, including water storage, hydroelectric power generation, and irrigation.

Purpose and Importance

  • Umiam Dam serves as a storage reservoir, helping regulate the flow of water in the Umiam River and its downstream areas.
  • The dam has a power station that harnesses the flow of water to generate electricity, contributing to the region's power supply.
  • Water released from the dam is utilized for irrigation purposes, supporting agricultural activities in the surrounding areas.

Construction and Specifications

  • Umiam Dam was constructed in the early 1960s as a part of the Umiam-Umtru Hydro-Electric Project.
  • It is a concrete gravity dam, standing at a height of approximately 55 meters and having a length of about 1,009 meters.
  • The dam has a reservoir with a storage capacity of around 320 million cubic meters.

Water Management and Flood Control

  • The primary function of Umiam Dam is to manage water resources, preventing floods during periods of heavy rainfall.
  • The reservoir helps regulate the flow of water downstream, minimizing the risk of flooding in the surrounding areas.

Hydroelectric Power Generation

  • Umiam Dam plays a significant role in generating hydroelectric power for the region.
  • The dam's power station has an installed capacity of 35 megawatts (MW) and contributes to the state's electricity supply.

Recreational Activities and Tourism

  • The scenic beauty and the presence of the reservoir make Umiam Dam a popular tourist attraction.
  • Boating, kayaking, and other water-based recreational activities are enjoyed by visitors, contributing to the local tourism industry.

Environmental Impact and Conservation

  • The construction of the dam has resulted in the creation of a reservoir and altered the natural flow of the Umiam River.
  • Environmental impact assessments are conducted to mitigate any potential adverse effects on the surrounding ecosystem and biodiversity.


Q) How can the coordination between various stakeholders be improved to minimize the impact of floods on vulnerable communities? Provide suitable examples and suggestions.