India on Wednesday signed a $175-million loan agreement with the World Bank for the National Hydrology Project. The project is expected to strengthen the capacity of institutions to assess the water situation in their regions and reduce vulnerability to recurring flood and droughts, saving hundreds of lives and livelihoods.
With rainfall in India being highly seasonal and 50% of precipitation occurring in just 15 days and over 90% of river flows in just four months, India continues to be water-stressed and is faced with the challenge of managing its water needs amidst recurring floods and drought, according to a World Bank statement.
“The project is expected to help forge an integrated approach to developing, managing, and regulating both
surface and groundwater resources jointly at the basin and aquifer scale,” said Raj Kumar, joint secretary with the department of economic affairs.
The National Hydrology Project, signed on Tuesday, will build on the success of the Hydrology Project-I and Hydrology Project-II, under which real-time flood forecast systems were integrated with weather forecasts in two large river systems (Krishna and Satluj-Beas) for the first time, giving reservoir managers an accurate picture of the water situation in their region, the World Bank said.
As a result, the time available for early warnings on flood and preparation for flood management improved from hours to days, which led to saving hundreds of lives and avoided flood damages ranging from $17 million to $65 million in a year, according to the Bank’s estimate.