Disaster Events

Debris dammed lakes: An imminent threat looms over Uttarakhand

Bhatwari block in Uttarakashi district of Uttarakhand is under an immediate threat from a landslide dam. About 24 km from the India China border, this landslide dam has created on river Sonam is a threat to the downstream river bank communities, roads and bridges, other structures and most importantly ecology.

Sonam Camp of Indo-Tibetan Border Police force (ITBP), just 4 km downstream from the dam, bridge connecting with Jadung Camp, Naga Bridge, Naga Camp, Border Road Organisation (BRO) bridge being constructed along Nelang river are said to be under threat. The dam is also a threat to Dharali, Harshil, Bagori, Jhala villages in Gangotri Valley, and other villages along the bank of the river.

In 1978, breach of a similar landslide reservoir on the same river led to extensive damage in Bhatwari, Maneri, Gangori tehsils.

Similarly, back in 2012 there was a similar incident at the same location. A debris dammed reservoir was created due to landslide, but the rapid currents of the river Sonam washed it away.

The landslide event on Sonam (Bhagirathi basin) has creating a lake of about 90 m long, 80 m wide and 1.5-3 m deep, apparently formed due to landslide during cloud burst on July 27, 2016. It is important to start draining water from the lake. However, a tussle continues between the district administration and the ITBP official, as one claims that the lake is not such a threat while the other asserts that it is a wrong perception created to hide one’s inabilities.

A team of officials sent by the District Collector had submitted a report, but the report is not yet accessible to the public domain.

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