The Geological Survey of India (GSI) in collaboration with the British Geological Survey (BGS) under the National Environmental Research Council (UK) funded, multi-consortium LANDSLIP project has developed a prototype regional Landslide Early Warning System (LEWS) for India, the Parliament was told on Thursday.
“The project is currently being evaluated and tested by the GSI in two pilot areas in India. One at Darjeeling district in West Bengal, and the other at Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu,” Earth Sciences Minister, Dr Jitendra Singh, told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
The GSI, through the LANDSLIP project is engaged in developing an experimental regional LEW) based on rainfall thresholds since 2017. The LANDSLIP research has developed a prototype model in 2020 based on the terrain-specific rainfall thresholds for two test areas.
The LANDSLIP is currently in the process of transferring the above tools of regional LEWS to the national nodal agency (GSI) for carrying out a similar endeavour in multiple landslide-prone states in India. Since 2020 monsoon, the GSI has also started issuing daily landslide forecast bulletins during monsoon to the district administrations in the two pilot areas for testing and evaluation.
The GSI is a part of the consortium constituted by the National Disaster Management Authority involving scientists from various institutes/organisations viz. National Institute of Hydrology, the National Remote Sensing Centre/the Indian Space Research Organisation, the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, the Defence Geoinformatics Research Establishment, IIT-Roorkee etc. This consortium works with an objective to explore the possibility of suggesting methods of monitoring and early warning to forecast site-specific rock/snow avalanche events including glacier lake outburst flood/landslide lake outburst flood and reducing the cascading impacts like flash flood and landslides etc. as domino effects in the downstream areas.
The GSI has initiated the R&D activities and the groundwork for developing regional LEWS in other test areas like Uttarakhand, Kerala, and Sikkim from 2021 and also has a plan to add five additional states (Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Meghalaya, and Mizoram) by 2022.
The evaluation and calibration of the models will continue during the next few monsoon years and the regional LEWS will be made operational in phases in all such 10 states after successful ground evaluation, with effect from 2025 onwards, the Minister said.