Fifth International Dam Safety Conference to be Held on 13-14 February at Bhubaneswar

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The 5th International Dam Safety Conference–2019 is being held during 13 and 14 February 2019 in Bhubaneswar as a joint initiative of the Government of India, Government of Odisha and the World Bank under aegis of the ongoing World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) as a part of institutional strengthening. Dam Safety Conferences are being organized as an annual event in different DRIP States in collaboration with the Implementing Agencies and leading academic institutes to provide a common platform for all stakeholders including non-DRIP States. Dam professionals, academicians, scientists, as well as industries both from within the country and from around the world to deliberate on all aspects related to dam safety and the solutions that worked best in addressing dam safety concerns.

Globally India ranks third after China and the USA in terms of the number of large dams with 5264 large dams in operation and 437 large dams under construction. The total storage capacity of the impounded water by these dams is about 283 billion cubic meters (BCM). Dams play a vital role in water security and foster rapid and sustained growth in agricultural, rural, urban and industrial development, which have been key priorities for the Govt. of India since independence. Over the last seventy years, India has invested substantially in this critical infrastructure which is essentially required to store and manage limited surface water resources in reservoirs to ensure food, energy, and water security as well as to mitigate droughts and floods.

About 80% of our large dams are over twenty-five years old. About 209 dams are over 100 years old and were built in an era when design practices and safety considerations were much below the current design and safety norms. Several of these dams may be experiencing distress and are in need of attention for ensuring their structural safety and operational efficiency. Mindful of this, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD & GR) had been taking various initiatives since late ‘70s such as establishment of Dam Safety Organisations in the CWC and States. In the 1990s a World Bank assisted DSRP project was launched to rehabilitate 183 distressed dams. Recently, In 2012 The Ministry initiated the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) with a duration of 6 years and financial outlay of Rs. 2100 crores. Presently, DRIP coveres rehabilitation of 198 large dam projects located in seven States namely Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Uttarakhand. Government has revised the financial outlay to 3466 crores and extended the duration by two years to complete the ongoing Project activities. In addition to rehabilitation of selected dams, DRIP also involves Institutional Strengthening and Project Management in the ten Implementing Agencies as well as nine academic institutions primarily aimed at sustained dam safety management. In Odisha, 26 large dams are covered under DRIP for rehabilitation including construction of an additional spill way for the Hirakud dam to address the hydrological safety at about Rs. 600 Crores.

The overall implementation, supervision, and coordination of DRIP has been entrusted to the Central Water Commission. The objective of DRIP is not to provide budgetary support for regular Operation and Maintenance (O & M), but to bring new initiatives in the dam safety area through technological advancements, novel rehabilitation construction materials, best global dam safety practices, capacity building of dam owning agencies as well as other selected stakeholders, cross-learning among partners, publication of technical guidelines and manuals, strengthening of the State and the Central Dam Safety Organisations etc.

Institutional strengthening is one of the important pillars of dam safety management and DRIP addresses this aspect holistically. To achieve defined objectives, 115 national and 5 international training programmes, and 8 exposure visits have been organized for the benefit of personnel from DRIP Implementing Agencies in which nearly 4,000 people have been trained on various aspects relating to the design, operation, maintenance and rehabilitation of dams. Eight (8) technical guidelines/ manuals have been published for standardising the various important technical protocols across the Country. During this Conference, 3 important national guidelines, 16 Emergency Action Plans, and 5 Operation and Maintenance Manuals are being published. The List of these documents is appended. The copy of all published national guidelines are available at official web site of DRIP.

Emergency Action Plans (EAP) and Operation and Maintenance Manuals are being prepared for all DRIP dams. Seismic Hazard Mapping of the entire country is being done to facilitate the dam safety professionals and dam owners to generate seismic design parameters for preliminary planning and design of water resources structures and seismic review of existing dams. In this context, a web bases Seismic Hazard Information System (SHAIS) is being develop for simplifying the procedures and analysis. Dam Health and Rehabilitation Monitoring Application (DHARMA), a software tool for asset management has been developed to capture authentic data pertaining to all large dams to act as information repository. It covers the monitoring and health information to regularly review the safety aspects of any dam. This tool has the appropriate access to policy makers, project managers, and dam managers to review the information and take appropriate action.

Government of India is striving to address the issue of dam safety in a comprehensive way for a quite a long time. In this context, Union Cabinet approved the Dam Safety Bill in June 2018 and this Bill was introduced in Parliament in December 2018. The Preamble of the Bill is to provide surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of specified dams for prevention of dam failure related disasters and to provide for institutional mechanism to ensure their safe functioning and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Considering the success of the ongoing DRIP, Government of India proposed Phase-II and Phase-III of DRIP with a financial outlay of over 10,221.0 Crores to rehabilitate around 700 dams. The new Project is proposed to be a State Sector Scheme with 10-year duration, with each proposed Phase of six years duration with two years overlapping. The government of India has given in-principle approval to this Project and very shortly is going to pose to World Bank for funding. This Project has wide spatial coverage; having 18 States and two Central Agencies, and covering about 13% of large dams of India. In addition to three components of ongoing Scheme, it has additional Component i.e. Revenue Generation through incidental i.e. tourism, fisheries, solar and hydel power, water recreations etc.

The Conference has one Plenary Session, 7 Technical Sessions and one Industry Session. The details of the Conference is available at https://damsafety.in/idsc2019. This Conference is part of the series of Dam Safety Conferences organized in Chennai (2015), Bengaluru (2016), Roorkee (2017), and Thiruvananthapuram (2018) which received an overwhelming response in terms of professional participation by Indian and overseas organizations. Over 725 delegates comprising dam owners, policy makers, and dam professionals, Scientists, academia etc. are coming together in this Conference. About 100 overseas experts from 30 Countries representing all the major continents of the world are participating in the Conference. Also, about 150 technical papers have been contributed by experts across the world; 35 national and international organizations both from within the country and abroad are showcasing their technologies, products and services in the exhibition to be organized during the Conference, reflecting the contemporary developments in the dam safety field. To accommodate more oral presentation of more technical papers, four sessions are being organized in two parallel locations making a total of 13 sessions.

The basic objective of these annual events is to give exposure to non-DRIP States as well as other stakeholders across the Country and World, to the best global practices and technological advancements to address the emerging dam safety challenges. As these events are being organised in various regional centres of Country, it also make aware the overseas delegates with culture and traditions of India. 

The key recommendations emerging from the deliberations during the Conference will be published and circulated to all stakeholders and policymakers for implementation. Some selected technical papers received for the Conference will be published as a Compendium to provide a permanent reference for all users. For wider dissemination, the published guidelines/ manuals, as well as the Compendium will be available on the official DRIP website: https//:www.damsafety.in

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NP/SKP/IA

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