Erosion: Coastal Info System To Help Tackle In Scientific Manner

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Chennai: As part of evolving long-term plans and protection measures, the Central Water Commission has set up three Coastal Management Information System (CMIS) stations that can generate data to tackle the perennial issue of coastal erosion in a scientific manner.

Developed by the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M), the stations have been set up in Devaneri in Tamil Nadu, Ponnani in Kerala and Karaikal in the Union Territory of Puducherry, officials said. The CMIS stations have been designed to generate field data on tides, waves, currents, wind, shore and seabed sediments, bathymetry and shoreline changes, which are important parameters needed to be considered for any planning and development.

Central Water Commission, Kochi, Director R Thangamani told PTI that the system was presently up and running, and the commission will be expanding it to other maritime states also. In 2016, the IIT-M was assigned the responsibility of setting up the CMIS stations in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry through a tri-partite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the states and the CWC.

Three professors of IIT-M’s Ocean Department V Sundar, S A Sannasiraj and K Murali developed the project. “By this year-end, all the three stations would have completed gathering data in their areas for one whole year.

Public works departments, fisheries department and ports would be direct beneficiaries of the data generated from the stations,” Sannasiraj said. According to a 2017 CWC report, all the maritime states/UTs are facing coastal erosion in varying magnitude and around 45.5 per cent of the total Indian coastline is under erosion.

Among them, around 740 kms of Andaman and Nicobar Islands coastline faced the highest erosion in the country, followed by Gujarat and Daman and Diu (486.43 km), the report said. Coastal erosion problem is a complex effect of various natural processes like waves and tides and man-made forces working in the coastal zone.

Any intervention to combat erosion requires adequate data, which will now be provided by CMIS, according to the IIT-M team. According to the report, the government had approved establishment of the CMIS in the 12th Five year Plan (2012-17) considering the importance of collection of data on coastal process relevant for evolving long-term plans and coastal protection measures.

It noted that the country presently lacked a co-ordinated approach since data on coastal erosion was being collected by multiple agencies.

The objectives of CMIS are to create an integrated data bank to tackle coastal erosion in a scientific manner keeping in view the long-term perspective and collection of data on coastal processes relevant for evolving long term plans and coastal protection measures.

“With a coastline of over 7,500 kms, the country is presently dependent on data provided by simulation model softwares which may not be accurate all the time. The CMIS system would generate data accurately and continuously,” Sannasiraj said. “The US and European countries facing the sea are data-rich and are systematically collecting such data. India has been lagging on this till now,” he said.

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