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Flooding is the most devastating natural hazard in Pakistan and the recent flooding has demonstrated its severeness. Floods are common throughout the country. However, their characteristics differ from region to region. Flooding behavior of the major basins and flood management at the national level are investigated in this article. Monsoon rainfalls are the main source of floods in the Indus Basin, while Mediterranean Waves and Cyclones, which are generated over the Arabian Sea, induce flooding in the Kharan Basin and the Makran Coastal Area. Fluvial floods in the Indus Basin have caused major economic losses. Pakistan’s government has spent vast resources on relief operations and flood works since the country came into existence in 1947. A number of provincial and federal acts, ordinances, accords, and treaties shape the national flood policy. Institutional setup for flood hazard and crisis management has evolved over the years. Nevertheless, data show no major reduction in the flood-to-damage ratio. The inter-linkage of structural and non-structural measures and their combined efficiency must be analyzed and optimized for more effective flood management.
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Floods and flood management in Pakistan
Muhammad Atiq Ur Rehman Tariq
, Nick van de Giesen
Water Resources Management Section, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands
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Article history:
Available online 3 September 2011
Flood management
Indus Basin
Kharan Basin
Makran Coastal Area
Flooding is the most devastating natural hazard in Pakistan and the recent flooding has demonstrated its
severeness. Floods are common throughout the country. However, their characteristics differ from region
to region. Flooding behavior of the major basins and flood management at the national level are investi-
gated in this article. Monsoon rainfalls are the main source of floods in the Indus Basin, while Mediter-
ranean Waves and Cyclones, which are generated over the Arabian Sea, induce flooding in the Kharan
Basin and the Makran Coastal Area. Fluvial floods in the Indus Basin have caused major economic losses.
Pakistan’s government has spent vast resources on relief operations and flood works since the country
came into existence in 1947. A number of provincial and federal acts, ordinances, accords, and treaties
shape the national flood policy. Institutional setup for flood hazard and crisis management has evolved
over the years. Nevertheless, data show no major reduction in the flood-to-damage ratio. The inter-link-
age of structural and non-structural measures and their combined efficiency must be analyzed and opti-
mized for more effective flood management.
Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
In August 2010, Pakistan suffered one of the most severe floods
in its history. Floods are the most frequently occurring and damag-
ing natural hazards in the country. Of all population who are af-
fected by natural hazards, 90% are subjected to flooding (Haider,
2006). In the recent flooding, almost 1800 persons died and finan-
cial damages were in the range of tens of billions US dollars.
According to available official statistics, about 8000 people lost
their lives and economical losses amounted to approximately $10
billion between independence in 1947 and the 2010 flooding (Baig,
2008). These estimates are carried out at the local administration
level and uncertainty in these values is unknown. Although no ma-
jor flood had occurred since 1995, the devastating flooding in 2010
demonstrated the continuous presence of flood risks.
The nature of flooding varies according to geography. Fluvial
floods in the Indus plain prove most devastating as the terrain is flat,
densely populated, and economically developed. Hill torrents (flash
flooding) are the second most destructive type of flood. Hill torrents
threaten large areas of the country (Fig. 1) and claim human lives
most frequently. Floods due to cyclones and intensive localized rain
are dominant at other locations. Exceptionally high floods have also
occurred due to the breaching of some of the small dams, e.g. the Sha-
di Kor dam in Pasni, which breached on February 11, 2005, washing
away more than 135 people (IFRC, 2005; Javed and Baig, 2005).
The hydrology of floods is linked to weather and climate as well
as to physiographic features (Shah and Gabriel, 2002). A brief over-
view of related geographical features is provided to interpret the
flooding characteristics. The country can be divided into three
physiographical regions (Framji and Mahajan, 1969):
(i) Mountains in the north and north-west 241,647 km
(ii) Plateau of Baluchistan in the south-west 242,683 km
(iii) Indus River plains 311,766 km
The spatial variability of rainfall throughout the country is high.
Of the total area, 59.3% can be classified as rangeland, which re-
ceives less than 200 mm annual rainfall (Umrani, 2001; ISDR,
2005). In the north of the country, the Himalaya Range receives an-
nual rainfall between 760 mm and 1270 mm (ISDR, 2005) and con-
tributes almost 72% of the mean annual flow in the Indus River
System (WWF, 2010). These rainfall data are based on the national
meteorological network. The spatial distribution of stations over
the country is not uniform. Stations in developed areas and mete-
orologically important locations generally comply with World
Meteorological Organization (WMO) standards. Southern Punjab,
Baluchistan, and northern Sindh receive the lowest amounts of
rain. Rainfall increases again towards the coast. Three types of
weather systems influence the precipitation in catchments which
produce floods in Pakistan. These weather systems are
(i) Monsoon depressions originating from the Bay of Bengal
(the most important system).
(ii) Westerly waves coming from the Mediterranean Sea (Winter
1474-7065/$ - see front matter Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Corresponding author. Address: Room 4.91, Building of Civil Engineering and
Geosciences, Stevinweg 1, 2628CN, Delft, The Netherlands.
E-mail addresses: (M.A.U.R. Tariq), N.C.vandeGiesen@
TUDelft.NL (N. van de Giesen).
Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 47–48 (2012) 11–20
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(iii) Seasonal lows from the Arabian Sea (Cyclones).
The country has four distinct climate seasons. April, May, and
June are extremely hot and dry months. July, August, and Septem-
ber are hot and humid with intense heat and heavy but scattered
rainfall (monsoon). The cool and dry period starts in October and
continues through November. December, January, and February
are the coldest months of the year.
Hydrologically, the country can be divided into three major
units: Indus Basin, Kharan Basin, and Makran Coastal drainage
area. Flooding characteristics of these basins vary greatly and re-
quire in-depth understanding.
2. Fluvial floods in the Indus Basin
The total watershed area of the Indus is 944,000 km
, 60% of
which lies in Pakistan (MoE, 2003). The Indus, with its major trib-
utaries Jhelum, Chenab, Sutlej, and Ravi, has an average annual
flow of 175 km
/yr. Table 1 presents a brief overview of the major
rivers in the Indus Basin.
Seasonally, flows fluctuate from 3000 m
/s to 34,000 m
(FFC, 2009). Annual river flows at rim stations (first gauging sta-
tion after a river enters into Pakistan) fluctuate between
120 km
/yr and 230 km
/yr (MoWP, 2002b). Rainfall in the Indus
Basin occurs during the monsoon and cold weather seasons, but
severe floods only occur in the monsoon season. High flows are
experienced in the summer due to the increased rate of snow-
melts and monsoon rainfalls. About 82% of the annual water
flows during the summer months (MoWP, 2002c). In this period,
heavy rainfall in the upper catchments located across the border
in Kashmir (Indian) often causes floods. Sometimes heavy
showers occur in areas just within Pakistan. As a consequence,
the rivers expand into their entire floodplains. The flooding
behavior of the major rivers differs according to catchment char-
acteristics and the types of installed river training facilities. In
low elevation catchments (Sutlej, Ravi, and Jhelum), maximum
snowmelt occurs in April–June and does not coincide with the
D.G. Khan Dera Ghazi Khan
EIRR Economic Internal Rate of Return
FEWS Flood Early Warning System
FFC Federal Flood Commission
FPSP Flood Protection Sector Project
NADP Normal Annual Development Plan
NESPak National Engineering Services Pakistan
NWFP North West Frontier Province
PKR Pakistani Rupee (currency unit)
$ United States Dollar
WAPDA Water And Power Development Authority
WMO World Meteorological Organization
Conversion rate
1$ 80 Pakistani Rupees
Fig. 1. Map of Pakistan showing main hydrological and geopolitical features.
12 M.A.U.R. Tariq, N. van de Giesen / Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 47–48 (2012) 11–20
monsoon rains (July through September). In high altitude catch-
ments (Indus and Chenab), snowmelt contributes significantly
to flood flows. Maximum snowmelt in the Indus and Chenab ba-
sins is experienced in July and floods of high magnitude are gen-
erated due to monsoon rainfalls. The flood peaks of the different
rivers usually do not coincide. However, when they do coincide,
widespread flooding occurs.
Floods in the Indus and Jhelum basins are largely controlled
by the Tarbela and Mangla dams. There is almost no control
(in Pakistan) over the Chenab, Ravi, and Sutlej rivers, which re-
sults in flooding problems in monsoon season. The Chenab has
historically given rise to the most floods (Fig. 2) because of the
lack of any controlling structures and large flows induced by
the combination of rain and snowmelt. India owns the exclusive
water rights of the Ravi and Sutlej rivers under the Indus Water
Treaty (1960). Because of that, there is practically very little flow
in these rivers (Haq and Nasir, 2003). Average annual flows ob-
served at the rim stations are about 3.15 km
/yr in the Ravi Riv-
er and 0.02 km
/yr in the Sutlej River (Mir et al., 2010). Floods of
higher intensity are observed on the Ravi River after the Treaty.
According to annual peak flows data at the Balloki Barrage, of
the seven most severe floods on the Ravi River (1922–2004),
six floods occurred after effectuation of this treaty in 1973.
The reason behind this increase is not known and should be sub-
ject of further study. The decreasing width of these rivers and
vanishing flows encourage encroachments for residential and
industrial purposes, but an episode of severe flood may wipe
out these developments.
In the upper and mid reaches of the Indus Basin, it is generally
the tributaries like the Jhelum and the Chenab rivers that cause
flooding rather than the Indus River itself. Since these rivers are
also snow-fed, an early monsoon may combine with peak snow-
melt runoff to exacerbate flooding. Generally, heavy rainfalls are
limited to the Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi, and Sutlej River catchments.
Occasionally, low atmospheric pressure crosses further north into
the Indus River catchment like in the recent case of flooding.
Intense rainfall produced exceptionally high flood peaks, which re-
sulted in flash flooding in North West Frontier Province (NWFP,
now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) and fluvial flooding in Punjab and
Sindh provinces. Fluvial flooding caused losses by inundating large
agricultural and residential areas, by damaging lifelines and pow-
erhouses, and by eroding land along the riverbanks.
The nature of fluvial floods in the upper Indus Plain differs from
that of the lower Indus Plain. In the upper Indus, the bed level is
lower than the adjoining lands. When a flood occurs, floodwater
spilling over the riverbanks generally returns to the rivers in the
upper part of the Indus Basin. However, in the lower part of the In-
dus in Sindh province, spills do not return to the river. This lack of
return flow extends the duration of inundation, resulting in larger
damages. Although flood protection by embankments has been
provided along almost the entire length in Sindh province and at
many locations in the upper areas, bund breaches can still occur
(Haq and Nasir, 2003; Khan, 2007b; FFC, 2009). Such breaches of-
ten cause greater damage than would have occurred without
bunds because of their unexpected nature and intensification of
land use following the provision of flood protection.
Table 1
Main features of the Indus River System. Sources: WAPDA annual report 2000, FPSP-II/C report 2008, and FFC annual report 2008.
Sutlej Ravi Chenab Jhelum Indus
Origin Tibet HP
Kashmir Tibet
Discharge to Chenab Chenab Indus Chenab Arabian Sea
Length (km) 1500 900 1240 820 3200
Basin area (km
) 122,000 40,000 67,500 63,500 727,000
Avg. annual flow (km
/yr) 3.05 4.46 25.17 24.33 83.15
Dams in India Bhakra, Pong
Thein Salal, Baglihar
Dams in Pakistan Mangla Tarbela
No. of barrages 2 2 5 1 6
Himachal Pradesh, India.
Pong Dam on the Beas River (Major tributary of the Sutlej River).
Fig. 2. Annual peak flow data of main rivers (1921–2010).
M.A.U.R. Tariq, N. van de Giesen / Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 47–48 (2012) 11–20
3. Flash floods in the Indus and Kharan basins
Flash floods typically hit the hilly areas of NWFP, Baluchistan,
Kashmir, and Punjab. Kashmir and NWFP receive high average an-
nual rainfall, whereas the steep and barren terrain of Baluchistan
and Dera Ghazi Khan (D.G. Khan) watersheds typically produce se-
vere flash floods, causing damage to infrastructure, settlements,
and loss of human and animal lives. Flash flooding in the Indus Ba-
sin, is confined to the tributaries of the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab
rivers. Most areas in NWFP, Kashmir, and Baluchistan and some
areas in Punjab endure flash floods. Flash floods are relatively
lethal, e.g., more than 230 people died due to flash floods in the
Pothohar Plateau (Islamabad, Rawalpindi, and NWFP areas) in
2001 (IFRC, 2002). According to flood loss data of the Federal Flood
Commission (FFC), about 60% of the casualties were reported in
NWFP during the 2010 flood due to flash flooding. Consolidated
economic loss and casualty data has not been compiled nationwide
and very little flood discharge data for hill torrents is available. It is
extremely difficult to measure such peak flows with conventional
methods due to their short duration and their unpredictability.
Floods in the NWFP are mainly hill torrents due to steep bed
slopes, which greatly increase flood velocity and severely erode
the banks. To save the areas from erosion, spurs have been con-
structed by the provincial government with the funds provided
by the federal government. Fluvial floods in NWFP are limited to
Nowshera and some parts of Charsadda, Peshawar (by the Kabul
River), and Dera Ismail Khan (by the Indus River). In the rest of
NWFP, flash flooding is a common disaster along with landslides
and torrential rains (PMD, 2009). Some dikes have been provided
for flood diversion or abatement and to minimize the effects of tor-
rential rains and consequent floods. Other severe flash flooding oc-
curs in Dera Ismail Khan along the Indus. These hill torrents have
an average annual flow of about 1 km
/yr (MoWP, 2002a). A bat-
tery of spurs has been constructed on the right bank of the Indus
River (FFC, 2009). Large numbers of spurs and a few embankments
have been constructed along the Swat, Kurrum, and Kabul rivers
and their tributaries.
The area of the Pothohar plateau (in north Punjab) often expe-
riences flash flooding. Islamabad and Rawalpindi have endured
flash floods from the Nullah Lai, which nearly flows through the
centers of both cities. The low-lying areas in Rawalpindi along
the Nullah Lai are even affected by small floods. Extreme floods
in Nullah Lai were observed in 1981, 1988, 1997, and 2001 (Kamal,
2004). The hill torrents generated in Suleiman Ranges (Baluchistan
and Afghanistan) hit the districts of D.G. Khan, Layyah, and Rajan-
pur in Punjab province. As the catchment area that generates tor-
rents is quite far away from the above mentioned districts,
sometimes, weather conditions in the catchment area and affected
areas are very different. In such cases, these torrents appear with-
out any weather symptom or warning sign. D.G. Khan hill torrents
have an average annual flow of 1 km
/yr (MoWP, 2002a). These
floods have destroyed bridges, settlements, and agricultural land
along riverbanks and have deposited huge amounts of debris into
the rivers.
All of Baluchistan Province, with its barren and steep land, is
subject to hill torrents. The Nari, Kaha, and Gaj rivers are part of
the Indus drainage system located in the north-eastern edges of
the province. Contrary to the rest of Baluchistan, the Kachi area
is highly fertile and needs floods for irrigation (Jarrige, 1997).
Kharan Basin (within Pakistan) covers an area of 121,860 km
and includes part of the Kharan Desert and Pishin Basin in west
Baluchistan. Average annual rainfall throughout the desert is less
than 100 mm (Khosa, 2000) and average inland drainage is about
/yr (Shah and Gabriel, 2002; UNITAR, 2004). The flow regime
in the rivers is typified by spring runoff and occasional flash floods
caused by Westerly waves during the winter months. The river
beds are dry for most of the year. Intense flash floods do occur
but are infrequent. Some bunds have been constructed to serve
as flood diversion or abatement measures. During a severe flood,
most of the embankments and flood walls constructed to protect
orchards or abadies (residential areas) are washed away. As flash
floods of high intensity are rare, people are not prepared for disas-
ter responses, which results in more destruction and losses.
Pishin Lora Basin is a major river basin in Baluchistan
(16,928 km
with 10 sub-basins) spread over five districts with a
total population of about 1.2 million (ADB, 2008). As this basin cov-
ers the area with Baluchistan’s main economic activities and high
population concentration, the disturbance due to floods is high.
4. Floods due to cyclones in Makran Coastal Area
The coastal area of Pakistan stretches over a length of 1046 km
between 62°E and 68°E(Rehman and Bhattarai, 2005). Makran in
the south of Baluchistan is a semi-desert coastal strip with an area
of 123,025 km
and a length of 750 km along the Arabian Sea (Shah
and Gabriel, 2002). The region is sparsely populated, with much of
the population being concentrated in small ports and fishing vil-
lages. Away from the coast, the narrow coastal plain rises very rap-
idly into several mountain ranges. The entire length of the
coastline is subjected to tropical cyclones. The Makran Coastal Ba-
sin includes the Dasht, Hingol, and Porali rivers, which discharge
individually into the Arabian Sea (MoWP, 2002a) with an average
annual flow of 3.5 km
/yr. The climate is dry with very little rainfall
and can be classified as arid with warm summers and mild winters.
The monsoon rainfall increases with the increase in longitude
along the coastline, whereas winter rainfall decreases with the in-
crease in longitude. The average annual rainfall is approximately
150 mm or even less along the Makran Coast.
Floods in coastal areas are associated with cyclones and high
tides. The Makran Coastal Areas have occasionally been hit by se-
vere cyclones. Cyclones generated in the Arabian Sea produce tor-
rential rains throughout the region. One cyclone is expected per
year in the Arabian Sea. About 75% of these cyclones end up at
the Omani coast on the western Arabian Sea and the remaining
25% curve clockwise and cross the coast near the Rann of Kutch
(MoE, 2003). No severe tidal floods have been recorded so far.
The coastal areas of Sindh are the most vulnerable and most ex-
posed to cyclones. The period from 1971 to 2001 saw 14 cyclones
(ISDR, 2005). One severe cyclone in 1997 impacted Makran (Gawa-
dar and Kech) and then crossed into the Kharan Basin up to the
Chaghai and Dalbadin districts. The Nihang and Kech rivers caused
widespread flooding in a region approximating 8000 km
2009). The recent floods due to two consecutive cyclones caused
tremendous damage. Cyclone Gonu struck the coast on June 4,
2007 and inflicted damage in the Sur Bandar area of Gawadar
(Khan, 2007a). Cyclone Yemyin on June 26, 2007 is among the
worst recorded so far. It affected 2.5 million people and made
250,000 homeless (UNESCO, 2007). The cyclone hit the catchment
area of the Mirani Dam (Dasht River). Substantial rainfall occurred
during the storm, causing serious flooding in the Dasht River. The
Pakistan Meteorological Department data showed rainfall of
172 mm over the storm period (2 days) at Turbat Airport in Baluch-
istan. The rainfall event was the highest rainfall recorded in the last
90 years (NDMA, 2007). The storm moved from east to west, mov-
ing from the Kech River’s catchment to the Nihing River’s catch-
ment, the two main tributaries of Dasht River. As mentioned
earlier, intense cyclones do not occur often, but they can cause
large-scale damage and cyclone Yemyin was one such example.
This cyclone caused flash flooding in various districts of the
Baluchistan and Sindh provinces.
14 M.A.U.R. Tariq, N. van de Giesen / Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 47–48 (2012) 11–20
5. Flood management arrangements
After independence, devastating floods occurred in 1950, 1956,
and 1957. Due to limited resources and institutional arrangements,
no comprehensive flood management plan was initiated at the na-
tional level. Until 1976, flood protection and management was the
sole responsibility of provincial governments. This changed after
the annihilating floods of 1973, which claimed 474 lives and
caused damages of 160 billion Pakistani Rupees (PKR) (approxi-
mately $2 billion) (FFC, 2009). A unified countrywide approach
was initiated to manage the flood problem. As a result, a long-term
principal plan was prepared in 1978 at the national level. The pres-
ent flood management arrangements can be discussed under three
1. Flood management measures.
2. Legislative framework.
3. Institutional setup.
5.1. Flood management measures
The flood management measures in Pakistan are mainly com-
prised of flood protection embankments, spurs, studs, and ad-
vanced flood-forecasting techniques. Various flood protection
structures were built by the provincial governments to solve local
flood problems (Baig, 2008). Since the establishment of FFC in
1977, flood management has been practiced according to an inte-
grated approach at the national level. A long-term National Flood
Protection Plan (NFPP) was prepared in 1978. The NFPP contained
phased implementation in the form of sub-plans known as the
‘‘ten-year National Flood Protection Plans’’ (NFPPs). An estimated
expenditure of over PKR 17.8 billion (approximately $220 million)
has been spent on flood works, rescue and relief not included,
under different programs since 1977 (FFC, 2009). A number of
flood protection works have been completed and some are still
in the implementation phase. The provinces receive financial and
technical support provided by the FFC to address the flooding
So far, three NFPPs have been executed covering periods from
1978 to 1987 (NFPP-I), 1988 to 1997 (NFPP-II), and 1998 to 2007
(NFPP-III). Under NFPP-I, 350 flood protection schemes (individual
structure repaired or constructed) were implemented at a cost of
PKR 1.73 billion (approximately $22 million) (Shaikh, 2008).
NFPP-II was carried out under two sub-projects, namely, the Nor-
mal Annual Development Plan (NADP) and the Flood Protection
Sector Project-I (FPSP-I). Under FPSP-I, 170 schemes (costing PKR
2541 million, approximately $32 million) have been completed un-
der the NADP and 257 schemes (costing PKR 4860 million, approx-
imately $61 million) have been executed. Three sub-projects were
carried out under NFPP-III (1998–2007). 101 schemes (costing PKR
4165 million, approximately $52 million) under FPSP-II, 362
schemes (costing PKR 3415 million, approximately $43 million)
under the NADP and development of a flood forecasting and warn-
ing system for Lai Nullah in Islamabad/Rawalpindi (PKR 348 mil-
lion, approximately $4.5 million) have been completed for this
plan (FFC, 2009). These plans have been financed by the govern-
ment and some donor agencies. The execution of the flood protec-
tion works is the responsibility of the provincial agencies, while
decision making and control of funds lie with the federal govern-
ment. The approving authority for each single sub-project is also
the federal government. About PKR 17.8 billion (unadjusted,
approximately $222 million) has been spent on flood management
measures since 1977 and about PKR 30 billion (approximately
$375 million) is planned for NFPP-IV (2008–2017) (Shaikh, 2008;
FFC, 2009). Financial resources, employed in rescue, relief, and
rehabilitation process are used in addition to the above-mentioned
According to the planning and approval criteria of the FFC, new
flood projects are executed under two categories: either need-
based measures to address local flood problems or integrated mea-
sures under the NFPP. Priorities are given to those measures which
serve areas of high economic losses, human suffering, and socially
and economically vulnerable groups. Since the NFPP plans are
mostly financed through loans from the Asian Development Bank,
the measures are not sanctioned unless they have an economic
internal rate of return (EIRR) of at least 12% (FFC, 2009) in compli-
ance with bank criteria. The EIRR of a project can be defined as the
average annual effective compounded return rate of investments.
EIRR serves to enable a direct comparison of investments and ben-
efits, which typically have a different temporal distribution. EIRR is
very common indicator in a cost-benefit analysis. Protection stan-
dards adopted in Pakistan are 50-years for flood protection struc-
tures and 100-years for vital river training structures and bridges
(Halcrow et al., 2001). The planning and approval criteria are the
same throughout the country, but there are different practices lo-
cally in design, construction, and maintenance of bunds, studs,
and spurs.
5.1.1. Structural measures
Numerous efforts have been made in the past to train rivers and
protect the adjoining areas from river erosion and flood damages,
but large-scale variations in river discharge and sediment concen-
trations have led to eroding river plains. Traditionally, flood man-
agement has relied heavily on the provision of structural
measures for flood containment. Structural measures are em-
ployed on a large-scale and include construction of embankments,
spurs, dikes, gabion walls, floodwalls, dispersions, diversion struc-
tures, delay action dams, bypass-structures, and channelization of
floodwaters. River training has mainly been executed with the help
of embankments and spurs. Embankments are constructed wher-
ever over-bank flooding is the major problem and spurs are con-
structed to counter land erosion and regulate the river’s main
course. About 6719 km of embankments have been constructed
along major rivers and their tributaries. In addition, more than
1375 spurs have been constructed to protect these embankments
(FFC, 2009). Details of embankments and spurs at provincial and
national levels are provided in Table 2. Economical and efficient
measures have been implemented based on their suitability for lo-
cal conditions. For the most part, earthen dikes have been con-
structed along the main rivers.
Flood protection bunds have generally been constructed either
to protect headworks, irrigation structures, or certain towns and
villages. Controlled breaching of embankments is also practiced
to avoid unwanted breach. In the upper Indus Basin, the main riv-
ers flow in a south-west direction. The general slope is southwards,
meaning that most of the canals stem from the left banks of the riv-
ers. Breaching is usually produced on the right banks to avoid dev-
astation, as most of the development is also on the left side where
the canal irrigation system is located. A double line of flood
embankments have been constructed along (almost) both banks
of the Indus in Sindh province stretching from the Guddu Barrage
Table 2
Details of embankments and spurs at the provincial and national levels. Sources: FFC
annual report 2008.
Province Embankments (km) Spurs (No.)
Punjab 3334 494
Sindh 2422 46
NWFP 361 185
Baluchistan 602 650
Total in Pakistan 6719 1375
M.A.U.R. Tariq, N. van de Giesen / Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 47–48 (2012) 11–20
to a few kilometers before the river forms its delta. The embank-
ments have been further compartmentalized to contain
Floods in the upper reaches of the Indus and Jhelum rivers have
been attenuated since the construction of the Mangla and Tarbela
dams in 1967 and 1974, respectively. Though the storage capaci-
ties of these dams are decreasing due to sedimentation, they still
play an important role in flood management. The useful lives of
these dams are expected to expire in 2050 and 2060 for Mangla
and Tarbela dams respectively (MoWP, 2002c; Haq and Abbas,
2008; Hashmi et al., 2009). Their effectiveness in flood control is
subject to their storage capacities, adopted reservoir operation
practices, and intensities of floods. Although these dams are multi-
purpose, their prime function is to store water for irrigation and
power generation. The operation planning of these dams has not
yet been optimized to control floods downstream.
The Mirani Dam was constructed in 2006 on the Dasht River for
the storage of hill torrent water for irrigation purposes in Baluch-
istan. It enabled irrigation supplies on both sides of the river and
minimized flood damages in the floodplain (Majeed and Khan,
2008). About 12 sub-projects of protecting bunds and delay action
dams were constructed in Baluchistan under FPSP-II (Contijoch,
2008). The harnessing of hill torrents in D.G. Khan has also been
studied by the National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPak)
in 1984 and by the Japan International Cooperation Agency in
1992 (MoWP, 2002b). NESPak accomplished another countrywide
feasibility study on hill torrents in 1998. The study area was di-
vided into 14 hill torrent zones in the Federal Areas, NWFP, Punjab,
Sindh, and Baluchistan (Fig. 1). Structural work has been com-
pleted in a few sub-zones of D.G. Khan (e.g., Kaha and Mithawan).
5.1.2. Non-structural measures
All the major rivers in Pakistan are trans-boundary and flow
through India. The shape of a flood wave mainly depends upon
water management practices in the watershed and upstream oper-
ations. Being a low riparian country, flood management options are
limited and flood prediction is complicated in Pakistan. Therefore,
main emphases have been put on precise flood forecasting and an
early warning system. Flood warning is mainly the responsibility of
the Flood Forecasting Division of Pakistan Meteorological Depart-
ment but the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA)
also contributes to improve the ability to forecast. The flood early
warning system was initiated in 1975 when a real-time VHF telem-
etry system was introduced for hydrological data collection from
16 river gauges and 24 rain gauges (Fig. 3)(NESPak, 2008). A total
of about 40 stations were established at all rim stations and within
the Mangla Dam catchment area. The number was gradually re-
duced to about 20 due to maintenance problems. The Flood Early
Warning System (FEWS) was updated under FPSP-II in 1998 in
cooperation with the NESPak-Deltares Consortium. FEWS is a
physically-based hydrodynamic model using real-time data. The
meteor-burst based communication system was integrated into
the FEWS through the WAPDA’s ‘‘Surface Water Hydrology Project’’
in 1998. About 22 high frequency radio sets were installed to serve
as a double support for automatic gauging and the telemetry sys-
tem (ADB, 2008). The high frequency radio system works as a back-
up for telemetry and the meteor burst system.
Currently, comprehensive and effective land-use planning con-
trols do not exist in Pakistan. Development of flood risk zoning for
the main rivers was initiated under FPSP-II. So far, hazard maps for
5-year and 50-year return periods have been compiled. Calibration
and risk assessment of these maps is planned in the forthcoming
NPFP. Interpretation and legislation regarding flood zoning will
be carried out afterwards.
The larger and more productive part of the flood-producing
upper catchments of the Sutlej, Ravi, and Chenab rivers lies across
the border in Kashmir (Indian) (Fig. 3). Precise and timely
measurement of precipitation in those areas is critical for effective
Fig. 3. Locations of telemetric gages, HF radios, weather radars, and river structures.
16 M.A.U.R. Tariq, N. van de Giesen / Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 47–48 (2012) 11–20
functioning of FEWS. A weather radar unit at Sialkot was installed
with the ability to detect the position of clouds and precipitation
within a radius of 230 km. This radar covers catchment areas of
about 17 tributaries. A 10 cm S-band Doppler Weather Surveillance
Radar unit, installed in 1997 at Lahore, provides rainfall data about
the Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, and Chenab catchments from across the bor-
der (NESPak, 2008). Floods in the Jhelum River occur mainly due to
heavy rainfall with very short lead-time. Therefore, a weather ra-
dar unit at Mangla was put up during FPSP II to provide quantita-
tive rainfall forecasts. More radar units have been planned to cover
the hill torrent generating catchments of D.G. Khan, NWFP, and
A number of control structures have been constructed in India,
making the operation of rainfall or runoff models more compli-
cated. An agreement was signed in 1989 between the two coun-
tries to share river flow and rainfall data for flood forecasting
(Awan, 2003). The ‘‘zero flood warning’’ manual was also accom-
plished to homogenize the flood warning procedures and emer-
gency action plans under FPSP II (Awan, 2003; FFC, 2007).
Tackling the flood problem within flood managing bodies seems
to become a smoother and better organized process. The setting
up of standard operating procedures may produce better inter-
agency cooperation and coordination.
The Mangla and Tarbela dams were constructed for irrigation
and power generation operations. Current reservoir operation
practices do not play any substantial role in flood management.
The clear example is the recent flooding 2010, in which the Tarbela
dam did not play any significant role in reducing flooding down-
stream. Improved reservoir operation of the Mangla dam to facili-
tate flood management was included in FPSP-II, but now has been
postponed due to a Mangla dam raising project. Pre-flood releases
on the basis of the flood forecasts can create required flood storage
capacity. Improved planning of reservoir operations for the Mangla
and Tarbela dams is included in the next NFPP to enhance their role
in flood management.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department issues daily satellite
cloud pictures from the polar orbiting meteorological satellites
on its website to inform the general public. In case of cyclones,
warnings are issued quickly. Cyclone detection radar is used for
tropical cyclone monitoring. Japan has donated radar equipment
to the WMO regional center for Bangladesh and Pakistan. This ra-
dar had contributed substantially to the detection, monitoring,
and forecasting of tropical cyclones in the country. Pakistan is a
member of the WMO and the ESCAP (Economic and Social Com-
mission for Asia and the Pacific) Panel on Tropical Cyclones which
aims to promote measures to improve tropical cyclone warning
systems in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. A technical plan
aimed at the development and improvement of the cyclone warn-
ing system in the region has been drawn up by the panel (WMO,
5.2. Legal framework
According to the Constitution of Pakistan, water is a provincial
government responsibility, but the federal government also per-
forms a number of tasks and responsibilities in the water sector,
mostly relating to international and inter-provincial matters. The
federal government, through the WAPDA, the Indus River System
Authority (IRSA), and the FFC performs coordinated planning,
development, and management of water and hydropower re-
sources. The legal framework for carrying out these tasks is pro-
vided by the WAPDA Act (1958), the Environmental Protection
Act (1997), the Indus River System Authority Act (1992), and by
the Constitution under various articles on inter-provincial coordi-
nation and resolution of conflicts through the Council of Common
Recent policies dealing with crises are the Emergency Services
Ordinance (2002) and National Disaster Management Ordinance
(2006), which provide the national strategy for dealing with emer-
gencies. A Draft National Water Policy by the Ministry of Water
and Power (MoWP) in 2002 was prepared to address most of the
water-related issues in the country, including flooding. This policy
emphasizes all necessary structural and non-structural measures
for flood management and the need for stakeholder participation
in the flood management process, as well as enhanced flood aware-
ness in the community. It also recommends replacement of various
water-related acts with a simple unified law that enables clearer
understanding and subsequent application of the law (Rehman
and Kamal, 2005). A number of strategies, visions, initiatives, and
plans have also been prepared, including the Ten Year Perspective
Plan (by the Planning Commission in 2001) and Vision 2025 (by
the WAPDA in 2001).
Pakistan has a very important agreement with neighboring In-
dia. The partition of the subcontinent created a conflict over the
water distribution rights of the Indus Basin. This trans-boundary
water issue between Pakistan and India was addressed with a tem-
porary ‘‘Standstill agreement 1947’’, the ‘‘Inter-Dominion Accord
1948’’, and eventually the Indus Water Treaty, which was signed
with the help of the World Bank in 1960. Six main rivers, the Indus,
Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej, along with their tributaries,
are covered in this agreement. According to this treaty, the exclu-
sive rights of water use for the three western rivers (Indus, Jhelum,
and Chenab) were given to Pakistan and rights for three eastern
rivers (Ravi, Bias, and Sutlej) were awarded to India. Compensation
to the eastern rivers was managed with a number of link canals.
5.3. Institutional arrangements
Many federal and provincial institutes are involved (directly or
indirectly) in flood management activities. Based on the nature of
services and support provided, these institutes can be grouped un-
der risk-managing and crisis-managing institutes. Risk-managing
institutes deal with structural and non-structural measures,
whereas crisis-managing institutes are concerned with rescue, re-
lief, and rehabilitation operations.
5.3.1. Hazard managing institutes
The Federal Flood Commission was established in 1977 and as-
signed the task of preparing the NFPPs on a countrywide basis.
Their specific jobs are to construct flood protection and river train-
ing works, improve the weather radar data collection system, and
create awareness and adaptability among the local population. The
FFC has played the main role in the country’s flood management
since 1977. Normally, flood protection schemes are prepared by
provincial governments (Provincial Irrigation and Drainage
Authorities) or concerned federal agencies. These schemes are then
reviewed and approved by the FFC, either on an emergency basis or
in the context of a group of projects. Flood protection plans in Paki-
stan are prepared on a countrywide basis by consultants under the
supervision of the FFC. Funding is provided by the FFC and execu-
tion of these projects is carried out by provincial agencies. The FFC
monitor and evaluate these works. These projects can be executed
as an individual independent project or as a subproject of the NFPP.
The approach followed by the FFC encompasses both structural
and non-structural measures. Non-structural measures mainly
pertain to the establishment of modern flood forecasting and
warning systems to provide timely and reliable flood information
to the flood mitigation agencies and to the public.
The Provincial Irrigation and Drainage Authorities (1997) are
an upgraded form of the Provincial Irrigation Departments with the
extended scope of irrigation and drainage management. The
Provincial Irrigation and Drainage Authorities play an important
M.A.U.R. Tariq, N. van de Giesen / Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 47–48 (2012) 11–20
role in flood mitigation by performing design, construction, and
complete maintenance of river training and flood protection works.
These also provide the flow measurement of rivers, canals, and
drains for flood forecasting. In addition, their role in crisis manage-
ment is to prepare flood emergency plans before, during, and after
the floods.
The Water and Power Development Authority is involved in
the flood forecasting process by providing river and rain data from
its telemetric gauge sites within the upper catchments of Indus and
Jhelum rivers. The safety of the Mangla and Tarbela dams are the
top priority for this data collection. It is also involved in providing
inflow and outflow data from the Mangla and Tarbela dams and
the Chashma barrage.
The Flood Forecasting Division of the Pakistan Meteorological
Department collects hydro-meteorological data from various na-
tional and international sources and then processes data to pro-
duce flood forecasts and warnings. Flood warning dissemination
is solely the responsibility of the chief meteorologist to avoid ru-
mors and misinformation about floods.
5.3.2. Crisis managing institutes
Crisis management is mainly performed through a set of admin-
istrative entities. Therefore, it will be convenient for international
readers if administrative divisions in Pakistan are described before
discussing the existing institutional setup. The country is divided
into five provinces each having their own political government.
These Provinces are further divided into ‘Divisions’ that, in turn,
consist of ‘Districts’. Both divisions and districts are only adminis-
trative levels headed by ‘Commissioners’ and ‘Deputy Coordination
Officers’ without political representation. Each district is further
divided into ‘Tehsils’ and Tehsils into ‘Unions’ that are represented
by elected Councilors.
The Provincial Relief Departments are responsible for flood
preparedness, rescue and relief plans. The department arranges
surveys to ensure that all flood protection bunds are satisfactorily
maintained before the flood season. It sets up flood warning
centers and flood centers at district and union levels. In fact, the
Relief Department functions through control and coordination of
the personnel and resources of other government departments
generally organized in form of committees.
The Emergency Relief Cell works at the federal level and mainly
deals with the planning and assessment of relief requirements for
major disasters. The scope of their activities covers stock piling of
basic necessities needed during an emergency, establishing emer-
gency funds, and assisting international donors in their relief ef-
forts. The provincial governments and local administrations
provide relief for disasters. The National Disaster Plan from 1974
covers procedures, organizational set-up, and standard procedures
for the monitoring of disaster operations.
The Army provides necessary help to civil authorities to carry
out rescue and relief operations during and after floods. The Army
also takes part in pre-flood season surveys and inspections of the
flood protection works. It is the responsibility of the provincial
government to provide all support equipment (boats, life jackets,
vehicles, tents, etc.) to the Army for these operations. During the
flood season, the Army sets up flood emergency cells at each corps
headquarters. In the case of major floods, the Army is responsible
for actuating controlled breaching of pre- defined flood bunds to
divert the peak away from the cities. Although, there exists no
standard procedure, the breaching is decided on the basis of exist-
ing and forecasted flood stages with the mutual consultation of lo-
cal officials of civil administration, irrigation department, and
army. The Army has been playing a vital role in flood relief activi-
ties in 2010 flood since the start of this disaster. Their relief activ-
ities demands intense cooperation with organizations that provide
flooding information. There are also a number of departments
which are assigned special tasks during floods.
6. Analyses and discussions
The overall data of lives lost and villages flooded (Fig. 4) shows a
decreasing trend from 1950 to 2009, which may be due to
Fig. 4. Flood losses details at national level against severe flooding years.
18 M.A.U.R. Tariq, N. van de Giesen / Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 47–48 (2012) 11–20
improvements in flood management. According to the Centre for
Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters International Disaster
Database EM-DAT (1980–2000), the ratio between the number of
deaths and population exposed to floods in Pakistan is lower than
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and China (Pelling et al., 2004).
Whereas flood losses at the worldwide level demonstrate an
increasing trend (Pielke, 2006), flood losses in Pakistan showed a
decreasing trend until the recent flood. The sense of safety induced
by the decrease in floods resulted in increased vulnerability of soci-
ety. As a result, life losses and financial losses were exceptional
during the 2010 flood, given the flood levels, which were not
exceptionally high (Figs. 2 and 4).
Flood loss data at district level show that historic fluvial floods
of the major rivers seldom claim lives, whereas regular annual
losses are mainly agricultural. Total areas flooded and flooded
cropped areas can be used as good indictors to assess the impacts
of flood management at district level. Therefore, flooded areas and
crop areas flooded at district level have been charted for major riv-
ers upstream from the river confluence (Fig. 5) to evaluate trends
in flood losses. Some reductions in the flooded areas have been no-
ticed, overall. Historical trends show that the country observes
alternate flood rich and flood poor periods. It is also worth noting
that there has been no major flood since 1995 and that the flood in
2010 occurred after a prolonged dry spell.
Though both structural and non-structural measures have been
implemented to reduce flood losses, available statistics show that
flood management in Pakistan basically revolves around structural
measures with a primary focus on flood prevention (MoWP,
2002c). Crisis management strategies are mainly comprised of res-
cue and relief actions. However, no solid strategy has been devel-
oped to enhance the flood fighting abilities of individual
communities. Flood mapping has been initiated but still no final
and authentic product has been produced to integrate flood map-
ping into existing flood management. New initiatives for structural
and non-structural measures are taken continuously but lack of
continuity and maintenance mostly results in failure. Poor mainte-
nance of telemetric system, dikes, and FEWS are among the exam-
ples. Dike failures and malfunctioning of FEWS for flood warning
due to poor maintenance and negligence have been observed dur-
ing 2010 flooding (Tariq and van de Giesen, 2010).
Funds are controlled and provided by the federal government
through FFC and there is no consideration in terms of ‘who pays
and who benefits’. On the other hand, the project approval guide-
lines set by FFC (FFC, 2009) carry strategic biases that are aimed
at protecting locations and infrastructure of greater economic,
political, and strategic significance, at the cost of areas and com-
munities with lesser influence and importance. For a project to
qualify the acceptance criteria, it must have an EIRR above a
threshold, usually set by donor agencies. Self-reliance and risk-
based approaches are not yet part of project acceptance criteria.
The social and economic infrastructure of Pakistan depends on
the waters of Indus Basin. Alarming records of historical flood
losses (Fig. 4) show the seriousness of the flood problem. Measures
have been taken for flood management, but there is no serious ef-
fort to increase the system’s ability to cope with the fluctuations in
annual and seasonal flows in the Indus River System. Pakistan’s
current water storage capacity is around 12% of annual availability.
No major dam has been constructed since the completion of Tarbe-
la Dam in 1974. Construction of new dams and reservoirs has been
hindered by inter-provincial disputes. The country was suffering
severe draught and water shortage shortly before it was hit by
the devastating flood in 2010.
7. Conclusions and recommendations
Flood management in Pakistan is a task that requires both vast
resources and comprehensive understanding of the flood problem.
The nature of floods varies drastically throughout the country due
to contrasting physiographic, climatic, hydrologic, demographic,
and socio-economic factors. The present approach for flood man-
agement incorporates both structural and non-structural mea-
sures, yet their inter-linkage and combined efficiency still need
to be optimized. The efficiency of any proposed measure should
be evaluated for its integration into existing measures to achieve
efficient and economically viable solutions.
Change in flow regime due to low flows in eastern rivers after
the Indus Water Treaty and enhanced flood protection measures
have attracted economic activities and settlements in floodplains.
Flood management arrangements are concentrated around the
Chenab and Jhelum rivers because of the frequent and devastating
nature of flooding. Those floodplains that have not faced flooding
over a considerable time are under extremely high risk. Vulnerabil-
ity on such locations has increased due to a false sense of safety.
Fig. 5. Details of area flooded and crop area flooded at district level for major rivers.
M.A.U.R. Tariq, N. van de Giesen / Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 47–48 (2012) 11–20
The 2010 flood in the upper Indus was due to exceptional intensive
rainfall in the catchments of the Kabul and Swat rivers which was
not covered by Doppler Weather Surveillance Radar units. The
Doppler Weather Surveillance Radar network should be extended
to cover north western areas of the Indus Basin to enhance the
capability and reliability of FEWS and the same system should be
established for the hill torrent areas of the Kharan Basin after car-
rying out feasibility analyses.
Currently, there exists no well defined criterion to initiate new
measures. Political processes and influence shape flood manage-
ment planning. The situation worsens as funding is not a responsi-
bility of floodplain inhabitants. A race to secure more measures is
unavoidable. In addition, the protection of high value areas at the
cost of low priority areas promotes unlawful breechings of dikes,
which was also observed during the flood in 2010. To overcome
the problem, the risk-based approach must be incorporated to han-
dle flood problems within available resources. Resources required
for flood management must be generated from water users and
floodplain inhabitants and dependency on donors must be avoided.
Comprehensive standard operating procedures must be formu-
lated based on risk and self reliance.
Expansion of structural and non-structural measures is extre-
mely important to enhance the efficiency of the flood management
system. Flood zoning and flood mapping projects must be com-
pleted on priority basis. Necessary legal and institutional support
must be provided to flood mapping and flood zoning. New dams
are necessary for improvement in water management in general
and for effective flood management in particular.
Unfortunately, maintenance and functioning of flood measures
have been neglected. High priorities must be assigned for the prop-
er functioning of measures. FEWS is a state of the art model. Its
proper functioning and full utilization must be assured. Compre-
hensive flood management plans must be prepared and executed
without waiting for another devastating flood.
Concluding, a risk-based pro-active approach is required to
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... A large segment of earthen dike (24.8 km) protects the Marala-Ravi Link Canal, Upper Chenab Canal, and Sialkot International Airport. The protection design is a 50-year return period [75]. Small segments of river training works exist on the northern side just to protect or to reduce the impact of flood waves to the vital features. ...
... A flood early warning system developed by Deltares is in place [75], which is under constant improvements. However, due to the location of study area, flood-protection dikes are the main measures supplemented by rescue and recovery operations carried out by the army. ...
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Despite spending ample resources and procedural development in flood management, flood losses are still increasing worldwide. The losses caused by floods and costs incurred on management are two components of expected annual damages (EAD) due to floods. This study introduces a generalized approach for risk-based design where a range of probable floods are considered before and after a flood mitigation measure is implemented. The proposed approach is customized from the ISO Guide 31000 along with additional advantages of flood risk visualization. A Geographic Information System (GIS)-based design of a flood-protection dike is performed to exhibit the risk redistribution. The Chenab River is selected for the existing dike system. Detailed hazard behaviour and societal vulnerability are modelled and visualized for a range of all probable floods before and after the implementation of flood-protection dikes. EAD maps demonstrate the redistribution of induced and residual risks. It can be concluded that GIS-based EAD maps not only facilitate cost-effective solutions but also provide an accurate estimate of residual risks after the mitigation measures are applied. EAD maps also indicate the high-risk areas to facilitate designing secondary measures.
... Floods are common in all parts of the world. However, their characteristics and intensity vary from region to region [2]. ...
... A classification framework for flood detection and mapping was proposed that aimed to answer the proposed questions: (1) How can remote sensing technologies for flood detection be categorized? (2) How are remote sensing technologies being used for flood prediction? (3) What are the current gaps in remote sensing-based flood prediction technologies? ...
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Floods are a major cause of loss of lives, destruction of infrastructure, and massive damage to a country’s economy. Floods, being natural disasters, cannot be prevented completely; therefore, precautionary measures must be taken by the government, concerned organizations such as the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and Office for the coordination of Human Affairs, and the community to control its disastrous effects. To minimize hazards and to provide an emergency response at the time of natural calamity, various measures must be taken by the disaster management authorities before the flood incident. This involves the use of the latest cutting-edge technologies which predict the occurrence of disaster as early as possible such that proper response strategies can be adopted before the disaster. Floods are uncertain depending on several climatic and environmental factors, and therefore are difficult to predict. Hence, improvement in the adoption of the latest technology to move towards automated disaster prediction and forecasting is a must. This study reviews the adoption of remote sensing methods for predicting floods and thus focuses on the pre-disaster phase of the disaster management process for the past 20 years. A classification framework is presented which classifies the remote sensing technologies being used for flood prediction into three types, which are: multispectral, radar, and light detection and ranging (LIDAR). Further categorization is performed based on the method used for data analysis. The technologies are examined based on their relevance to flood prediction, flood risk assessment, and hazard analysis. Some gaps and limitations present in each of the reviewed technologies have been identified. A flood prediction and extent mapping model are then proposed to overcome the current gaps. The compiled results demonstrate the state of each technology’s practice and usage in flood prediction.
... When a natural hazard occurs with catastrophic results, the affected population immediately notices a lack of security and equally quickly demands structural measures to solve the problem. Historically, this situation has been increasingly repeated in societies where population pressure and urbanisation positively correlate with the increase in disasters triggered by natural hazards, and as a result, a significant amount of resources has been allocated with the intention of mitigating the disaster risk [53]. The development of structural measures needs to achieve a desirable balance between the scale of measures and their economic benefits [54]. ...
Sri Lanka has a high incidence of natural hazards with hydrometeorological hazards being the most prevalent. Despite the fact that structural measures such as flood walls and embankments play a vital role in disaster mitigation, it is observed that there is a gap in the development of effective, sustainable, and state of the art structural measures in Sri Lanka. This paper, in this context, aims to assess the nature of existing structural measures in the country in order to highlight what improvements are needed, and the costs and benefits of the necessary improvements. This is achieved through a comprehensive literature review followed by the analysis of twelve semi-structured interviews conducted with experts in the subject of structural measures for disaster mitigation. The findings reveal that Sri Lanka has sufficient types of structural measures in relation to floods, landslides, and coastline erosion compared to other developing countries. However, age and outdated technology are critical issues that hinder the expected performance of the measures. Moreover, it is observed that sufficient structural measures for mitigating the risk of drought related disasters are not in place in Sri Lanka compared to measures for other hydrometeorological hazards. The key benefits of improving structural measures in the country are identified as land development, economic growth, and increased stability of cities, and the main costs and challenges are high initial capital cost, high maintenance and repair cost, and the negligible residual value of structural measures. The findings of this study will lead to gaining a comprehensive understanding of gaps and weaknesses in structural measures in Sri Lanka and will influence policymakers and other respective practitioners in disaster mitigation to effectively enhance the existing portfolio of such measures.
... Hundreds of thousands of people remained in makeshift settlements with inadequate sanitation and food supplies months after the floods subsided. The Pakistani government projected that the floods caused $43 billion in economic losses (Tariq et al., 2012). ...
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Climate change has become a potential threat to human health in the past half century. The risk associated with waterborne diseases due to changes in climatic patterns is increasing all over the world. This article reviews the available literature on the increase and potential impact of waterborne diseases on human health, particularly those resulting from changes in climate patterns in Pakistan. The discussion focuses on the increased exposure to pathogens associated mainly with temperature rise and floods resulting from intense rainfall events. Developing countries, including Pakistan, are more vulnerable to threats of climatic changes, which add to waterborne disease risks due to poor sanitation and sewerage systems, inappropriate water management, lack of health-care facilities, and social and environmental factors. Among bacterial pathogens, E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, Cryptosporidium, and Campylobacter are the main causative agents of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, hepatitis, cholera, typhoid, malaria, salmonellosis, dysentery, schistosomiasis, and giardiasis, all of which are becoming more frequent. In addition to disease outbreaks, climate changes are expected to increase the challenges of water availability and exposure to unsafe water. Future projections of climate based on current rates of change predict increased variations in rainfall patterns and melting glaciers, which will lead to an exponential increase in pathogen concentration in water bodies. As disease outbreaks become more frequent, the impact on health is clear. This article proposes actions to reduce future health threats from outbreaks of waterborne diseases through the development of mitigation and adaptation measures put into national water policy, including infrastructure development that assures potable water quality control, improved medical intervention, and the development of process-based models for risk management.
... Floods in Jhelum and Indus rivers are mostly controlled by the Mangla and Tarbela reservoirs, respectively ( Figure 1). There is no big reservoir present in the transboundary Chenab River on the Pakistan side, which results in flooding problems almost every monsoon season (Tariq & van de Giesen 2012). From 2010 onwards, the Chenab River is facing high floods at the Marala Barrage almost every year (Federal Flood Commission Islamabad 2014). ...
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This study proposes the assessment of SWAT model simulations, with the provision of satellite precipitation products (SPPs), in a transboundary/large catchment. Three latest sub-daily/half-hourly (HH) and daily (D) SPPs, i.e., ‘IMERG-E’, ‘IMERG-L’, and ‘IMERG-F’, were evaluated for daily and monthly flow simulations. The study revealed that monthly flow simulation performance is better than daily flow simulation in all sub-daily and daily SPPs-based models. Results depict that IMERG-HHF and IMERG-DF yield the best performance among the other latency levels of SPPs. The IMERG-HHF model has a reasonably higher daily correlation coefficient (R) and lower daily root-mean-square error (RMSE) than IMERG-DF. IMERG-HHF displays the lowest percent bias (PBIAS) values of 15.4 and 2.4 for daily and monthly flow validation, respectively. It also represents relatively higher values of coefficient of determination (R2) and Nash–Sutcliffe Efficiency (NSE) than any other model, i.e., R2=0.66 and NSE=0.63 for daily model validation and R2=0.84 and NSE=0.82 for monthly model validation. Moreover, the sub-daily IMERG model outperformed the daily IMERG model for all calibration and validation scenarios. The IMERG-DL model demonstrates poor performance in all of the SPPs, in daily and monthly validation, with low R2 (0.63 (dval) and 0.81 (mval)), low NSE (0.50 (dval) and 0.67 (mval)), and high PBIAS (31 (dval) and 26.6 (mval)). Additionally, the IMERG-HHE model outperformed IMERG-HHL. HIGHLIGHTS Improvement in the SWAT daily model to set up the sub-daily model for a relatively large transboundary river catchment.; Daily and sub-daily satellite rainfall input comparison in the SWAT model for flow simulation.;
... extreme monsoonal flooding [1,2]. Therefore, flood disaster mitigation and hazard management have become the point of concern for all stakeholders. ...
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Inter alia, inter-annual and spatial variability of climate, particularly rainfall, shall trigger frequent floods and droughts in Pakistan. Subsequently, a higher proportion of the country's population will be exposed to water-related challenges. This study analyzes and projects the long-term spatio-temporal changes in precipitation using the data from 2005 to 2099 across two large river basins of Pakistan. The plausible precipitation data to detect the projected trends seems inevitable to study the future water resources in the region. For, policy decisions taken in the wake of such studies can be instrumental in mitigating climate change impacts and shape water management strategies. Outputs of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) climate models for the two forcing scenarios of RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 have been used for the synthesis of projected precipitation data. The projected precipitation data have been synthesized in three steps (1) dividing the area in different climate zones based on the similar precipitation statistics (2) selection of climate models in each climate zone in a way to shrink the ensemble to a few representative members, conserving the model spread and accounting for model similarity in a baseline period of 1971-2004 and the projected period of 2005-2099 and (3) combining the selected model's data in mean and median combinations. The future precipitation trends were detected and quantified, for the set of four scenarios. The spatial distribution of the precipitation trends was mapped for better understanding. All the scenarios produced consistent increasing or decreasing trends. Significant declining trends were projected in the warm wet season at 0.05% significance level and the increasing trends were projected in cold dry, cold wet and warm dry seasons. Framework developed to project climate change trends during the study can be replicated for any other area. The study therefore can be of interest for researchers working on climate impact modeling.
... Further, The National Environment Policy, 2005, was approved under the Ministry of Environment (MoE) to address the environmental issues of polluted water and wetlands and provide water treatment facilities and water quality monitoring system (EPD, 2007). FFC was established in 1977 for flood control planning, collecting accurate data, constructing infrastructure to mitigate disaster risk and minimize vulnerability (Tariq & Van De Giesen, 2012). The Provincial Irrigation and Drainage Act, 1997, is responsible for distributing canal water and providing water for irrigation and industrial sectors at the provincial level, along with maintenance and rehabilitation of canals and water bodies (Sayal, 2015). ...
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Given the continuous population growth and climate change, water resources are becoming increasingly scarce. With the escalation of this water crisis, water management and governance have become essential concerns across policy agendas. Every country has a different regulatory system, policy framework, specific management requirements, institutional challenges, and capacity gaps concerning the administration of its water resources. The present study focuses on the policy frameworks and institutions for managing water resources in Pakistan at both provincial and federal levels. The paper analyzes water governance challenges and major hurdles regarding effective water management and the development of water resources in the country. A descriptive analysis of the country’s water management and water distribution between the federation and federating units is based on secondary data sources with a qualitative approach through a desk research method. While describing the underpinning issues and challenges of water governance and management in Pakistan, the study findings reveal that the country needs to adopt a collaborative approach towards water governance and management and capacitate the relevant institutions and stakeholders to perform their mandated tasks effectively to ensure a water-secure future for Pakistan. The study recommends launching mass awareness campaigns concerning efficient usage of water, adopting intelligent agriculture techniques, and fast-tracking the completion of new reservoirs while discouraging build-neglect-rebuild policies for the existing water infrastructure. The study also presents limitations and recommendations for future research.
... Sedimentation is another excellent issue due to rapid development. Rapidly moving water carries all the sediments with it and drops them into the riverbed due to a decrease in velocity, which decreases the storage capacity of the rivers and streams and causes floods (Tariq and Van De Giesen, 2012). ...
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This study aims to quantify land use and land cover changes before and after the 2010 flood in district Charsadda, Pakistan. Advanced geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing techniques (RST) evaluate land use and land cover changes. The purpose of this research is to estimate and compare the pre-and post-flood changes and their influences on land use and land cover changes. Land use land cover data studies are important for sustainable management of natural resources; they are becoming increasingly important for assessing the environmental impacts of economic development. Moreover, some remedial measures are adopted to develop the area’s land cover to overcome future problems. Land use and land cover changes are measured using satellite images. Two instances, i.e., pre-flood and post-flood, are compared to analyze the change in land use and land cover of district Charsadda within 5 km along the Kabul River. Comparative analysis of pre-flood and post-flood imageries highlighted some drastic changes over the water body, built-up area, agricultural land, and bare land during flood instances. The study area is rural and agricultural land is dominant as compared to other land uses. We evaluated the percentage of different land use and land cover within our study area. The agricultural land found about 68.5%, barren land 22.5%, and the water body 8.8% before the flood. After inundation, the water body raised to 16.4%, bare soil increased to 26.3%, agricultural land degraded up to 57.0%, and settlements (villages) along the Kabul River were severely damaged and finished by this flood. 2010’s flood heavily damaged approximately four villages in district Nowshera, six in district Peshawar, and twenty-seven Charsadda District villages.
... Floods are a recurrent and frequent natural disaster in Pakistan [1][2][3][4]. In Pakistan, over 60% of the land area is vulnerable to floods, 40% to earthquakes, and 6% to cyclones [1]. ...
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The global warming trends have accelerated snow and glacier melt in mountainous river basins, which has increased the probability of glacial outburst flooding. Recurrent flood events are a challenge for the developing economy of Pakistan in terms of damage to infrastructure and loss of lives. Flood hazard maps can be used for future flood damage assessment, preparedness, and mitigation. The current study focused on the assessment and mapping of flood-prone areas in small settlements of the major snow- and glacier-fed river basins situated in Hindukush–Karakoram–Himalaya (HKH) under future climate scenarios. The Hydrologic Engineering Center-River Analysis System (HEC-RAS) model was used for flood simulation and mapping. The ALOS 12.5 m Digital Elevation Model (DEM) was used to extract river geometry, and the flows generated in these river basins using RCP scenarios were used as the inflow boundary condition. Severe flooding would inundate an area of ~66%, ~86%, ~37% (under mid-21st century), and an area of ~72%, ~93%, ~59% (under late 21st century RCP 8.5 scenario) in the Chitral, Hunza, and Astore river basins, respectively. There is an urgent need to develop a robust flood mitigation plan for the frequent floods occurring in northern Pakistan.
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This study is an effort of people-centric geo-spatial exposure and damage assessment of 2014-flood in Upper Indus Plain (UIP). Community-based disaster risk management (CBDRM) approach in integration with geo-spatial techniques is implemented to assess the nature and damages as well as community perception in reducing floods. In this regard, a semi-structured questionnaire was designed for micro-level detail investigation. A total of 422 households were surveyed in 22 flood-affected villages in eight districts forms the lower Chenab Basin using random sampling techniques. Secondary data regarding river discharge is collected from Regional Meteorological Centre, Lahore. Shuttle radar topographic mission (SRTM) Digital elevation model (DEM) having 30 m spatial resolution and Landsat satellite image of September 2014 with same resolution is acquired from open source geo-database of United States Geological Survey (USGS). Landsat satellite image is processed to extract the spatial extent of inundation. Watershed modeling approach is utilized to demarcate Chenab River Basin in a GIS environment. Buffer analysis and inverse distance weighted (IDW) technique of spatial interpolation are used to geo-visualize the spatial extent and depth of flood based on community perception. Analysis reveals that flood is one of the recurring phenomena in the Chenab Basin. The upper catchment areas of Chenab Basin are dominated by flash floods and low-lying areas are prone to riverine floods. The 2014-flood has caused estimated economic damage of 1409.295 million Pakistani Rupees (mPKR). Housing sector suffered the major losses of more than 1000mPKR followed by the agricultural sector. Based on spatial extent, vertical profile and damages the study region is categorized into upper and lower zones. The lower zone is most affected in terms of extent, depth and damages. This study can assist the decision-makers and disaster managers in designing location-specific flood risk reduction.
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Floods are the most devastating natural disasters and are occurring with increasing frequency and causing losses worldwide. Structural measures have been used as primary tools to control floods and flood losses. Despite devoting considerable resources to structural measures, increasing trends in flood losses and casualties are observed. It is also realized that probability-based design standards are unable to reduce losses efficiently because population dynamics are not taken into consideration. A risk-based approach was introduced in the 1990s in the field of flood management. So far, the implementation of risk-based flood management is lacking due to its inability to provide a uniform standard approach that could be practiced nationwide. The present research provides a risk-based systematic framework for the design of structural measures. The concept of optimum state (OS) is introduced. This framework is based on costs and benefits using expected annual damages (EAD) for the evaluation of flood risk mitigation. EAD addresses the probabilistic nature of flood events and provides risk distributions in the form of EAD curves and EAD distribution maps. The proposed framework supports considering all probable floods instead of a single design flood. (C) 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers.
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Climate change is real, and has a significant human component related to greenhouse gases, as summarized by the IPCC's Working Group I. Nothing in this white paper contradicts this work. • Global disaster losses have increased. • The increase in disaster losses is primarily due to floods and storms. • Scientists have not yet attributed changes in floods and storms to human causes. However, there is evidence for the detection of trends in some phenomena, especially tropical cyclones. • Some long-term disaster loss records are of suitable quality for research purposes. • Long-term records of disaster losses indicate that the overwhelming factors responsible for increasing disaster losses are a result of societal change and development. • Looking to the future, societal change will continue to be the dominant factor in increasing disaster losses. This conclusion is robust to a wide range of climate change scenarios. Identifying the signal of human-caused climate change in disaster loss trends will remain difficult for decades to come. Global disaster losses have increased.
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Flooding proves to be the most devastating and annihilating natural hazard in Pakistan. Existing flood management strategies are riveted primarily to the structural measures that contribute limited loss reduction capability at the national level. Non-structural measures are not part of regular practices, as the adopted design standards, which are probabilistic in nature, are unable to assess their feasibilities. An improved risk-based assessment using expected annual damages (EAD) is introduced in this article for the evaluation of combined impacts. EAD treat the probabilistic nature of losses and provide an extended visualization of risk distributions in the form of damage curves and expected annual damages distribution maps. The Chenab River floodplain was selected to study the coalesced response of embankments and flood zoning, preliminary in economic terms. In this regard, the impacts of all likely floods are considered instead of the traditional focus on a single design flood. Damage curves and maps are compiled using estimated losses and probabilities of all floods. Flood zoning for agricultural land is performed. The results support choosing a multidirectional conjunctive approach that considers multiple measures to reduce flood losses. These results can be used as a vital input for the decision-making process.
Mr. Higinbotham sums up two years of work in the Federation of American Scientists and its related organizations. The activities here recorded are due in no small measure to the efforts and enthusiasm of Mr. Higinbotham himself, who left his research job at Los Alamos in the fall of 1945 to help organize this educational campaign. He has just resigned as Executive Secretary of the FAS to become Cochairman of the Electronics Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
The Indus Basin River System drains one of the largest river basins in Asia. Its main tributary, the Indus River, originates in Tibet in the northern Himalayas, snakes through Himalayan mountain ranges before appearing on the plains of Punjab in Pakistan. The river has a number of major tributaries of which Kabul, Jhelum, Chenab and Ravi Rivers are prominent. The river finally joins the Arabian Sea in Indian Ocean near the port city of Karachi. There are a number of barrages and several major dams constructed on this river system, which provides the backbone to one of the largest irrigation systems of the world. A number of major Pakistani cities and several rural communities are established along its banks. The river system is mainly snow-fed but during monsoons carries major floods. The floods are a regular phenomenon with losses running into millions. Fatalities due to flooding are also common. A number of flood control measures have been adopted to relieve the flood impact of the river. This paper describes the magnitude of the flood problem along with the measures adopted to deal with the adverse impacts of the floods. In this context, the flood forecasting system is described. A number of other possible flood mitigation measures are suggested along with the areas of improvements within the existing system. INTRODUCTION The Indus Basin is one of the largest river basins in Asia with an approximate area of 1 million km 2 . It extends over four countries in South Asia including China in the north-east, India in the east, Afghanistan in the north-west and the vast majority of the plains of the Punjab, Sindh and North West Frontier Province in Pakistan. 56% of the Indus Basin lies in Pakistan and covers approximately 70% of the country area (IUCN, 2005). The geographical location of the basin is shown in Figure 1. According to a 2001 estimate (UNESCO, 2001) the population of the basin is 150 million. However, a 1991 estimate places the population at 196 million (Fahlbusch et al., 2004). The largest river in the basin is the Indus River with Chennab, Jhelum, Kabul, Ravi and Sutlej Rivers as major tributaries (Figure 2). The major component of the annual flow for these rivers is derived from snowmelt, originating in the Hindukush-Himalayan region. All of the Indus Basin rivers either originate or pass through India before flowing into Pakistan. A riparian dispute erupted soon after the independence of the two countries in 1947, which was settled in a landmark water sharing treaty brokered by the United Nations. This treaty, called the Indus Waters Treaty, was signed in 1960 and has withstood the test of numerous political conflicts between the two countries.
Comprehensive information is provided on approaches and experience in flood management for the Mississippi basin. Of interest are the changes to mix of structural and non-structural elements gradually being combined with other water resources activities in an integrated and comprehensive approach to basin water resources management, and the establishment of the national flood insurance programme 1. Location 1.1 The Mississippi Basin occupies the center section of the contiguous 48 states of the United States. From its headwaters in upper Minnesota, the Mississippi runs 3,700 km to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico, some 145 km below New Orleans, Louisiana. Its drainage basin is the fourth largest in the world, with over 360,000 km 2 , and includes 41% of the contiguous US (portions of 31 states) and parts of two Canadian provinces. Its tributaries include the second and third largest rivers in the US, as well as numerous smaller, yet still imposing rivers. Flood-prone areas in the basin are found adjacent to the Mississippi and its tributaries, with the largest flood-prone region found in the 90,650 km 2 Lower Mississippi River Valley. This valley varies in width from 32 km to 129 km across, with an average width of 73 km. Many cities were built along its banks; they range in population from 3 million in the Minneapolis-St Paul metropolitan area and in New Orleans, to under 50,000 in smaller cities like Vicksburg. All or parts of these are located in the floodplain, subject to floods or a flood threat since settlement. Industry is present in, and adjacent to the major cities. Agriculture is a major element in the economy of 10 states through which the river flows. The river and the land adjacent to it provide important habitat for fish and wildlife, with the Mississippi providing the largest and longest continuous system of wetlands in the US. Finally, the river constitutes an important navigation system for national and international waterborne commerce.