CWC, 10 States sign $250-mn loan project with World Bank

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 05, 2021

This will support schemes to improve safety and performance of existing dams across these States

The World Bank on Thursday signed a $250 million loan project with the Centre, the Central Water Commission (CWC), and 10 States, including Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, to support schemes to improve the safety and performance of existing dams across these States, a World Bank statement said.

The project, the Second Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP-2), will strengthen dam safety by building safety guidelines, bringing in global experience, and introduce innovative technologies. The $250 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development has a maturity period of 13 years, including a grace period of 6 years, the statement said.

Another major innovation envisaged under the project, likely to transform dam safety management in the country, is the introduction of a risk-based approach to dam asset management that will help to effectively allocate financial resources towards priority dam safety needs.

Project implementation

The project will be implemented in approximately 120 dams across Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu, and at the national level through CWC. Other States or agencies may be added to the project during project implementation, it said.

“Dams provide critical infrastructure for power generation, flood moderation, and water supply for drinking, agriculture, and industrial use. Strengthening their structural safety and operational management will help in building better resilience to handle the effects of climate change. The Government of India has committed financial resources for a National Dam Safety Programme including phased project support from development partners,” it quoted the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) in the Finance Ministry.

The agreement was signed by Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary at DEA, representatives from the State governments and Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director for India.

“This is the world’s largest dam management programmr. Its objective is to break the costly cycle of ‘build-neglect-rebuild’ which characterises the operations and maintenance of infrastructure across sectors,” said Ahmad.

The country has over 5,000 large dams with a storage capacity of more than 300 billion cubic metres. Rainfall, which occurs mainly in intense and unpredictable downpours within short monsoon seasons, is of high temporal and spatial variability and does not meet year-round irrigation and other water demands.

Considering this, storage of water in dams is essential for the country’s economic growth and for the millions of people who rely on their waters to sustain livelihoods. With average annual cost of floods in India estimated at $7.4 billion, many dams are critical in mitigating floods. Their failure could pose serious risks to downstream communities.

World Bank support to dam safety in India included the recently closed DRIP-1 that improved the safety and sustainable performance of 223 dams in six States of India and one central agency.

Other important measures that DRIP-2 will support include flood forecasting systems and integrated reservoir operations that will contribute to build climate resilience, preparation and implementation of emergency action plans to enable vulnerable downstream communities to prepare for and enhance resilience against the possible negative impacts and risks of climate change, and piloting of supplemental revenue generation schemes such as floating solar panels.

Published on August 05, 2021

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