Friday, March 5, 2021

What lies beneath: 50,000 cubic m of water in new Chamoli lake

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THEY NOW have a quantity. The lake that was fashioned upstream of the Rishi Ganga river after the February 7 flash floods in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, holding the potential of a recent deluge, is between eight metres and 9 metres in depth at completely different factors, and comprises about 50,000 cubic metres of water.

In a joint operation Saturday, an Indian Air Force Advanced Light Helicopter winched divers from the Indian Navy into the lake to measure its depth. As the helicopter hovered 14,000 ft above sea stage, the divers plunged into the ice-cold water with handheld echo sounders to calculate the depth. In a launch, the Navy famous the complexity of the operation, together with holding the choppers regular within the tough terrain.

According to a Navy official, the operation lasted round half-an-hour, beginning with the take-off from Joshimath to reach the lake, positioning of the helicopter over it, the dive into the waters to file the depth at a number of spots, and the return to Joshimath.

Following the operation, Uttarakhand officers mentioned, they assessed the quantity of water held within the lake at 50,000 cubic metres. An official mentioned the Navy had measured depth at 5 spots within the lake, and calculated the typical depth at round eight metres.

“The data is important as earlier we were not able to assess the volume of water in the lake,” mentioned Ridhim Aggarwal, DIG, State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), and Additional CEO, Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority. The knowledge will even assist scientists decide the strain exerted by the water on the wall holding it, officers mentioned.

Chamoli District Magistrate Swati S Bhadauria mentioned that with the Navy submitting its report back to scientists tenting near the lake, additional motion can be taken as per their resolution. The Navy workforce had been known as in to evaluate the scenario as time was of the essence and there was no street entry to the lake, officers mentioned.

Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal mentioned two Navy groups are stationed at Joshimath and 5 groups are on standby for the Chamoli operation.

The SDRF Sunday additionally put in a Quick Deployable Antenna System near the lake, with video-call facility, to assist speedy communications between the scientists and different officers given the dearth of cellular community within the space. The QDA System will live-stream the scenario on the opposite floor.

Currently, there are 10 scientists on the lakeside camp, together with from the Defence Research and Development Organisation, Geological Survey of India, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology and Uttarakhand Space utility Centre. Apart from that, seven SDRF personnel are tenting on the web site to maintain a watch on any risk because of the lake.

Aggarwal mentioned the QDA would assist them hold a watch on the waters from the bottom station and higher information the workforce on the spot. She mentioned whereas the water is slowly getting discharged from the lake through a channel for the time being, they’re “widening that channel for better outflow in a controlled manner. We will also explore possibilities of creating more channels.”

Noting that the amount of water was large, Prof Y P Sundriyal of Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University’s Geology Department mentioned the wall holding it was made from silt, sand and clay. “If it has not broken so far, it can be assumed there would be no sudden blast-like break off,” Sundriyal mentioned, whereas advising the administration to make sure that water is drained from it in bigger portions quickly.

The toll within the tragedy is now as much as 68, with six extra our bodies recovered. The district administration mentioned 136 persons are nonetheless lacking.

With inputs from ENS, Chandigarh

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