Raging muddy flood waters on the Kali Gandaki forced the Nepal Electricity Authority to open all sluice gates on the Kali Gandaki A hydropower project, which means that some of the settlements downstream in Syangja are at risk.
Last week, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA) had cited weather modelling by the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum that had projected heavier than normal rainfall this monsoon over most of Nepal. But no one expected the monsoon to hit with such a bang so early into the season.
“We are now bracing up for the 2021 monsoon season, and it is predicted to be much more intense than last year,” NDRRMA’s Anil Pokhrel wrote in Nepali Times last week. He predicted that this year’s monsoon comes after the worst wildfire season ever, and it could make it even more destructive.
“Wildfires that raged for months burnt through forest-shrub cover, undermining the ability of mountain slopes to absorb rainfall and prevent soil erosion. This could potentially result in more landslides and floods,” Pokhrel said.
Besides heavier than usual rainfall, what made the floods more destructive in Melamchi and other rivers are: poorly constructed roads triggering landslides, slopes scorched in the spring wildfires unable to soak in water, mountains still unstable from the 2015 earthquakes, as well as rampant sand and boulder mining along rivers that increased the velocity of the rivers.