World Bank approves funding for India’s ambitious National Hydrology Project

The World Bank has approved $175 million for India’s National Hydrology Project which will strengthen the capacity of existing institutions to assess the water situation and equip them with real-time flood forecast systems across the country. Apart from helping states that have already benefited from the earlier projects to further upgrade and complete their monitoring networks, the national project will also help new states to better manage water flows from the reservoirs.

The move will help in reducing the vulnerability of many regions to recurring floods and droughts as absence of real-time ground information for the entire country creates difficulties in issuing alerts on time. The entire project, worth over Rs 3679 crore, will be implemented by 2023-24. The World Bank will provide financial assistance for nearly 50% of its total cost.

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

This national project will now scale up the successes achieved under HP-I and HP-II to cover the entire country, including the states of Ganga, and Brahmaputra-Barak basins. “In the context of climate change, advanced flood management and enhanced river basin planning are essential for building livelihoods and sustaining economic growth. This project has the potential to help communities to plan in advance to build resilience against possible uncertainties of climate change,” said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank’s country director in India.

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