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Recent news on Kosi River flooding from the Times of India, unfortunately the situation there seems to have worsened:

The rise in the water level caused due to funneling of the high intensity flows of Kosi water through the narrow passage has led to full or partial submergence of 52 villages in Nirmali, Saraigarh and Bhaptiahi blocks of Supaul district. 

Most of the affected villages are located within a range of 15 km upstream from the site of the bridge. This was one of the major findings of a team comprising Narayan Jee Chaudhary of Mithila Gram Vikas Parishad, Darbhanga, Anindo Banerjee and Jay Kumar Verma(Praxis, Patna) and Rajkumar and Ajay (local activists). The team had recently visited the site. Read more

The Kosi River flows through Bihar in North India and Nepal.  In 2008, the embankments of the river were breached by flood waters induced by monsoon rains.  Since then, governments have attempted to prevent future floods through flood protection schemes and engineering methods such as dredging to restore the flow of the river along its central current or pilot channel.  This led to controversy in nearby villages located in the Sansuri district of Nepal who protested the dredging saying it would lead to the inundation of local villages if the water level rose too high, although it has been reported that the elevation of the villages would likely keep them safe from flood waters.  All recent news coverage about the implementation of flood protection of the Kosi seems to assume that dredging or opening the pilot channel would prevent devastating floods now and in the future.  This seems logical — in order to prevent the river from breaching its embankments, re-establish the central flow of the river.  But it’s unclear as to what consequences this would have for the river as a whole.  When the embankments were first built they were intended to hold back rising flood water levels, but since then they have eroded severely and repairing them is costly.  This is why other measures need to be taken to resolve future flooding. Read more

Dr Alex Densmore from IHRR, along with the Bihar State Disaster Management Authority, the Government of Bihar and IIT Kanpur (Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur) hosted a workshop on the Kosi River.  A report from this workshop is now available on IHRR’s website: Read more

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