Flood risk assessment for Indian sub-continental river basins
Abstract. Floods are among India's most frequently occurring natural disasters, which disrupt all aspects of socio-economic well-being. A large population is affected by floods during almost every summer monsoon season in India, leaving its footprint through human mortality, migration, and damage to agriculture and infrastructure. Despite the massive imprints of floods, sub-basin level flood risk assessment is still in its infancy and needs to be improved. Using hydrological and hydrodynamical models, we reconstructed sub-basin level observed floods for the 1901–2020 period. Our modelling framework includes the influence of 51 major reservoirs that affect flow variability and flood inundation. Sub-basins in the Ganga and Brahmaputra River basins witnessed the greatest flood extent during the worst flood in the observational record. Major floods in the sub-basins of the Ganga and Brahmaputra occur during the late summer monsoon season (August–September). Beas, Brahmani, upper Satluj, Upper Godavari, Middle and Lower Krishna, and Vashishti sub-basins are among the most influenced by the dams, while Beas, Brahmani, Ravi, and Lower Satluj are among the most impacted by floods and the presence of dams. Bhagirathi, Gandak, Kosi, lower Brahmaputra, and Ghaghara are India's sub-basins with the highest flood risk. Our findings have implications for flood mitigation in India.
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