World Bank OKs $175m for nat’l hydro project

NEW DELHI: The World Bank has approved $175 million for India’s National Hydrology Project which will strengthen the capacity of the existing bodies to assess the water situation and equip them with real-time flood forecast systems across the country.

Apart from helping states that have already benefited from the earlier projects to further upgrade and complete their monitoring networks, the national project will also help new states to manage water flows from the reservoirs in a better way.

The move will help reduce the vulnerability of many regions to recurring floods and droughts as absence of real-time ground information for the entire country creates difficulties in issuing alerts on time.

The entire project, worth over Rs 3670 crore, will be implemented by 2023-24.

The World Bank will provide financial assistance for nearly 50% of its total cost.

The project, approved by the World Bank Board on Wednesday, will build on the success of India’s earlier projects — Hydrology Project-I and Hydrology Project-II — which had led to real-time flood forecast systems, integrated with weather forecast in two large river systems (Krishna in South India and Sutlej-Beas in North-West India), to give reservoir managers an accurate picture of the water situation in their region.

This national project will now scale up the successes achieved under HP-I and HPII to cover the entire country, including the states of Ganga, and Brahmaputra-Barak basins.

“This project has the potential to help communities to plan in advance to build resilience against possible uncertainties of climate change,” said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank’s country director in India.

The National Hydrology Project was approved by the Union cabinet in April last year as a central sector scheme with a total outlay of Rs 3679 crore. While Rs 3,640 crore will be spent for the national project, remaining Rs 39 crore will be used for establishment of the National Water Informatics Centre as a repository of nation-wide water resources data.

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