Flood Management Strategies

Lying in the sub-tropical region, Pakistan is usually hit by floods almost every year during the Monsoon season. Shrinking of forested area, squeezing of wildlife, change in global climate, lack of proper means to store excessive water and above all massive growth of population are some major factors that aggravate the living situation of floods in Pakistan. Today, we stand on fifth number in the list of the countries vulnerable to climate change and thus the risk of natural hazards like floods becomes more acute than ever before.

Hence, this is high time to look for the practices and strategies that can reduce the risk of flooding and can help us tackle the costly flood damage. Wise approaches of policy, planning and governance can be helpful in this regard. Riverine floods can be managed by such nature-based solutions which can be practically feasible in countries like Pakistan. Reconnecting flood plains can be a solution as it can give more room during floods. Planting vegetation like mangroves, restoring marsh land, raising river banks, better construction of levees and flood walls can also be effective to provide protection against floods.

We can also learn from the successful practices of landscape engineering adopted by a number of countries in Europe. London for example is protected from flooding by a huge mechanical barrier across River Thames which is raised in time of need. Empoldering techniques of Netherlands are also exemplary in land reclamation.

Though floods are destructive in many ways, we cannot deny their significance in terms of the soft alluvial soil they bring with them that enables our Indus Plains to become the richest grain producing region of the world. Controlling flood water with best management practices hence becomes need of the hour.