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Necessity of Flood Management Laws in Tamilnadu, India

S. Suriya, B. V. Mudgal


Tamil Nadu covers an area of about 130,058 square kilometers and is the eleventh largest state in India. It has a coastline of about 1,000 kilometers. The major area in Tamil Nadu falls in a region of low seismic hazard. The entire state relies on monsoon rains and hence it is prone to droughts when there is shortage of rainfall. The climate of the state varies between dry sub – humid to semi – arid. The normal annual precipitation of the state is about 945 mm. Since the state is entirely hooked in to rains for recharging its water resources, monsoon failures cause acute water deficiency. But in the case of Chennai, the typical coastal city which is the capital of Tamil Nadu faces the problem of flooding even for short duration rainfall due to uncontrolled construction activities, improper maintenance of waterways and illegal encroachment along the bunds. The adverse impacts of flooding includes loss of life and property, disruption of economic activity (shortage of food, energy, water and other basic needs), mass migration of people and animals and environmental degradation relating to the spreading of pollutants by means of flood waters. Since Tamil Nadu is not a flood prone area, so far no flood management law is enacted. But nowadays due to urbanization and other anthropogenic activities the coastal areas in Tamil Nadu are prone to frequent flood. The best way to manage flood is to maximize the net benefits from the flood plains and minimize the loss of life from flooding. For the effective management of flood, there should be a strong legal frame work and effective institutional support for its implementation. This paper discusses about: (a)how flood related laws have evolved in different states of India (b)relevance of existing laws followed in Tamil Nadu for flood management and the necessity for the enactment of separate flood management laws in Tamil Nadu.

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