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IIT Ropar carries out flood mapping by Microwave Remote Sensing technique


PATIALA: In a move to counter the flood the IIT Ropar has carried out a mapping of some districts in Punjab that witnessed a huge losses due to floods in August 2019. The researchers have carried out the study by using Microwave Remote Sensing (MRS) technique through only freely available Sentinel-1 Satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA).

The data for the mapping of the districts, especially Ropar where IIT has been incepted for last many years, were collected from the ESA. The researchers have come up with some precautionary measures that can counter the losses due to flood water. In August last year Punjab witnessed floods in Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ropar, Fazilka, Moga and Ludhiana districts following excess water released from Bhakhra Dam in Sutlej River. Punjab government demanded over Rs 1200 crores from Central government.

The researchers suggested setting up of the reservoirs where the excess water can be collected. They also suggested that low lying areas need to be relocated and no more settlement of the population should be allowed in such flood-prone areas or the low lying areas where excessive water during floods used to enter first. This will also help in future urban planning. If the relocation is not possible, the reservoirs can be set up and the embankments and lining of the canals or water bodies should be reconstructed. They also suggested setting up of a database of more than a decade to study more deeply the flood-prone areas or where breaches in the water-bodies are frequent.

“The mapping of the areas through the MRS technique helped us to gather the data about the low lying areas’ and the various modes or channels from where the excessive water used to enter first. As we have done with the mapping of 2019 it will be easy for the NDRF or other rescue teams to reach out for the sensitive and flood-prone areas in future. Also, a current mapping just ahead or during floods can be taken through the MRS technique for more help. Various communication modes can be set up during times when regular communication modes including roads are cut off during floods. The research with this technique has been initiated since 2018 when we studied UP floods. A database carrying the data of around one decade about the areas where the lining of canals often witness breaches needs to be studied to counter flooding in such flood-prone areas,” said, Dr Reet Kamal Tiwari, professor at Civil Engineering department IIT Ropar.

The research was carried out by Dr. Reet Kamal Tiwari and his student Akshar Tripathi.

“We collected data from ESA as currently, India has only RISAT 1 satellite having MRS technique but it is not operational whereas RISAT 2 is available only for defence purposes thus not available in public domain. Earlier we had done the mapping and modelling in the year 2018 soon after the devastating floods of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh and the measures were suggested including setting up of a reservoir in order to tap the flood water and save the human settlements and agricultural land”, said, Akshar Tripathi, Ph.D scholar, Civil Engineering IIT Ropar.

The researchers said that Remote Sensing is a technique growing leaps and bounds and is a revolution in the field of remote sensing that has brought about – Eyes in Space, Sensing for all. They said that MRS was far better than the Optical sensing technique to carry out mapping.

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