Underwater domain awareness — that is, comprehending the intricate dynamics of underwater channels — holds the key
India is already feeling the financial sting of climate change, and the situation is predicted to worsen. According to the World Bank, India might suffer a staggering 2.8 per cent GDP loss by 2050 due to climate change-related impacts.
This year alone, the repercussions of torrential monsoons were staggering. Himachal Pradesh has been one of the worst affected, where landslides and flooding have claimed lives and disrupted livelihoods.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) underscores the need to slash global emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 to avert worse repercussions. However, current emissions trajectories fall short of achieving this goal. Even if the Paris Agreement’s target of capping global warming at 2 degrees Celsius is achieved, significant impacts are inevitable.
Underwater domain awareness
Without an intrinsic comprehension of how surplus rainfall navigates the Earth’s surface — be it oceans, rivers, streams, or urban drainage systems — comprehending how to effectively tackle this issue remains elusive.
UDA holds the key to mitigating the havoc caused by unseasonal monsoons. By comprehending the intricate dynamics of underwater channels, rivers and drainage systems, we gain the ability to predict, manage and respond effectively to the excessive rainfall.
One notable example of this problem is the Khadakwasla dam, where a study conducted by the Maritime Research Centre (MRC) revealed that the dam is more than 50 per cent silted. The findings indicate the dam’s reduced storage capacity leads to water overflow during heavy rains, while during the dry season, the available water is significantly depleted, impacting water supply. Relentless downpours only intensify the problem, hastening the rate at which sediment accumulates. Without UDA, the extent of silting is difficult to gauge, making it challenging to devise effective solutions.
UDA’s strength lies in its ability to provide real-time insights. With the right infrastructure, early warnings become actionable responses, minimizing surprises. However, India’s tropical landscape demands tailored solutions. Embracing indigenous technological advancements is essential, necessitating collaboration among science institutions, corporations, security agencies and environmentalists.
Collective efforts are essential to overcome this challenge. The UDA framework advocates resource pooling and coordination at national and regional levels. This synergy optimizes human and financial resources, nurturing indigenous capabilities attuned to India’s unique ecosystem.
Dr (Cdr) Arnab Das is Founder & Director, Maritime Research Center (MRC), Pune.