Chennai rains
Army personnel rescue people from submerged houses in Chennai on Dec. 3, 2015.IANS

India is all set to get 100 new flood forecasting stations, in addition to the 176 it already has. This will be especially significant for Tamil Nadu, which will for the first time get 14 new flood forecasting stations, whose existence could have prevented the calamity the state and its capital city Chennai are recovering from.

According to an official statement, the Central Water Commission (CWC), under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, will set up the stations. The other states to get the flood forecasting stations for first time are Rajasthan (12), Sikkim (eight), Arunachal Pradesh (three), Kerala (two) and Himachal Pradesh (one). The stations are being set up as part of the current Five-Year Plan.

Another 60 stations will be set up in other states that already have some flood forecasting stations.

The CWC has been entrusted with flood forecasting activities in India. A network of 878 stations on major rivers and their tributaries has been set up for this.

Currently, flood forecasts are issued from 176 stations (148 of which forecast water levels and 28 forecast water inflow) using hydrological data from a network and Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) received from the Flood Meteorological Organisation (FMO) of India Meteorological Department (IMD).

CWC's existing flood forecasting network covers 19 states, Uts and the NCT, 10 major river basins and 72 subbasins.

So far, 445 of the existing stations have been modernised with automatic data collection and transmission systems. Mathematical models on rivers Jhelum, Alaknanda, Bhagirathi, Ganga, Brahmaputra, Yamuna, Chambal, Baitarani, Vamsadhara, Subarnarekha, Mahanadi, Tapi, Godavari and Krishna have been developed, said the Ministry of Water Resources statement.

The forecast is disseminated using the email, SMS and websites.

The modernisation includes installation of automatic sensor-based data collection and satellite-based data transmission systems for near-real-time flood forecasting and development of medium range hydrologic and hydraulic models with a warning time of up to 72 hours using one-dimensional mathematical modelling tools.

The ministry had launched new flood forecasting website eSurface Water Information System ("eSWIS") during the flood season of 2014.

The trends of river water levels at the forecasting stations of the network during the last 72 hours are also made available to the general public at the web portal.

In addition, flood warning messages are also disseminated using Google's Common Alerting Protocol, said the ministry's statement.