New Delhi (The Hawk): Central Water Commission under the aegis of the Department of Water Resources, RD&GR, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India is organizing a one-day National Workshop on Dam Safety Act, 2021 for Dam Safety Governance in India on 16th June, 2022 at Dr. Ambedkar International Centre, 15 Janpath, New Delhi. The workshop is aimed at sensitizing all stakeholders about the provisions of the Dam Safety Act, 2021 and to brainstorm on dam safety governance in India.
In India, there are 5334 existing large dams while the other 411 large dams are under various stages of construction. Maharashtra leads with 2394 dams while Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are at the second and third spots in terms of the number of dams. India’s dams annually store about 300 billion cubic meters of water. These dams are ageing over the years with about 80% of dams exceeding 25 years of age, and over 227 dams exceeding 100 years. The ageing of dams and deferred maintenance of the dam have made dam safety a matter of concern.
The Dam Safety Act, 2021 was enacted by the Parliament and came into force with effect from 30th December 2021. The Act is aimed at ensuring surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of the specified dam for prevention of dam failure-related disasters and to provide for an institutional mechanism to ensure their safe functioning.
As per the provisions of the Act, the Central Government has already notified the constitution of the National Committee on Dam Safety (NCDS) under the Chairmanship of the Chairman, Central Water Commission (CWC) to help evolve uniform dam safety policies, protocols and procedures. Further, the National Dam Safety Authority (NDSA) has also been established to function as a regulating body for ensuring the nationwide implementation of dam safety policies and standards. The Act comprehensively addresses the critical dam safety concerns under prevailing as well as new issues such as climate change, etc. Its key provisions include regular inspection of dams; hazard classification of dams; emergency action plan; comprehensive dam safety review by an independent panel; funds for timely repair and maintenance; operations and maintenance manual; record of incidents and failure; risk assessment study; dam instrumentation including hydro-meteorological and seismological network; accreditation of agencies; emergency flood warning system; and offences and penalty. The Workshop will be attended by the Ministers/Policymakers and Senior functionaries, Technocrats of MoJS, Central / State / UT Governments, CWC, Academicians, PSUs, private sector and dam owners, all associated with the issue of dams, dam safety governance.