IWP researchers evaluate flood-control measures at the mighty Brahmaputra

Professor Robert James Wasson and colleagues from the Institute of Water Policy, Dibrugarh University and TERI University travelled to Dibrugarh (Assam) to research the effectiveness of embankments as a flood management strategy in December 2016.

The Brahmaputra  — Son of Brahma, the God of Creation — is one of the world’s greatest rivers. On the basis of the annual average runoff, the Brahmaputra is ranked first and eighth in the Indian sub-continent and the world, respectively (510,000 million m3).

The research trip investigated specifically questions and concerns such as: what impacts do embankments have on river dynamics? Do embankments reduce perceived flood risk? What is the narrative content of the ‘public pressure for action’? What are the costs and benefits of river embankments from the perspectives of different stakeholders? What are the reforms and institutional changes required to strengthen embankment governance? How can non-traditional sources of flood data help flood risk estimation?