India’s NHPC has launched an Internet cloud-based software application for Early Warning Systems (EWS) that will enable tight monitoring of river water levels and discharges both upstream and downstream of hydropower projects that have been identified as ‘vulnerable’.
The systems will have the ability to issue alerts and warnings to concerned project authorities and stakeholders, giving local people time to react during floods.
Hydroelectric projects are usually located in mountainous areas and can be vulnerable to incidents such as landslides, cloudburst, glacial lake outburst foods and landslide lake outburst floods etc. In recent years, the Himalayan region has witnessed several incidents, resulting in flash floods in the downstream areas where lives have been lost, and hydroelectric projects and other infrastructure have been damaged.
One such incident occurred in February 2021 in the Chamoli District of Uttarakhand when some hydroelectric projects were badly damaged and there was great loss of human lives and property. The Ministry of Power (MoP) subsequently constituted a committee for Short-Term & Long-Term Weather Forecast and said Early Warning Systems should be put in place at such vulnerable projects.
The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) identified 47 vulnerable projects across the country, which are generally located at EL 1500m and above or those which are first in the basin. Out of these, 10 projects belong to NHPC Limited and two belong to CVPPPL (A Joint Venture Company between NHPC and JKSPDC). As per the guidelines issued by CEA/MoP, such projects were directed to establish Early Warning Systems (EWS) in the form of Automatic Water Level Recorders (AWLR) with telemetry at Gauge & Discharge sites at an appropriate distance upstream of the dams, or maintain close coordination with upstream projects (if any) so that the sufficient lead time is available to project authorities to establish safety measures.
NHPC was also given the responsibility for setting up a master control room facility to monitor the EWS’ of such vulnerable hydroelectric projects in the country. The software application has been integrated with inputs from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on a real time basis to strengthen the forecasting / alerts. Presently all projects associated with NHPC and CVPPPL have been configured with this application, and hydroelectric projects belonging to other developers can also take advantage of this software portal in future.
Image: Shri A.K. Singh, CMD, NHPC launching an Internet cloud based software application for Early Warning Systems (EWS) on 8th August 2022 at NHPC Corprate Office, Faridabad. Shri Y.K. Chaubey, Director (Technical) and Shri R.P. Goyal, Director (Finance) were also present in the programme alongwith other senior NHPC officers.