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Central Water Commission

(Serving the nation since 1945)

Flood Forecasting/ Hydrological Observation

Flood causes considerable damage to human lives and property almost every year. About 48% of total flood prone area (40 mha assessed by the Rashtriya Barh Ayog) of the country has been provided with reasonable protection against flood of a low to moderate magnitude due to technological and economic constraints. It is not possible to provide protection against all magnitude of flood. Flood Forecasting & warning has been recognized as the most important, reliable and cost effective non-structural measures for flood mitigation.

At present, CWC is entrusted with monitoring of flood situation in the country during monsoon by observing water levels/ discharges along the major rivers in the country and issuing flood forecasts to the local administration/ project authorities/ State Governments and the Home Ministry, G/o India; covering 148 low lying area/ cities and towns besides 28 reservoirs all over the country. The network is spread on ten major river systems viz. the Ganga & its tributaries, the Indus/ Jhelum, the Brahmaputra & its tributaries, the Barak, the Eastern Rivers, the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna and the West flowing rivers covering 72 river sub-basins, over 17 states viz. Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh & West Bengal, one Union Territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and National Capital Territory of Delhi. The flood forecasting and advance warning for 148 low lying areas/ towns and 28 reservoirs help the user agencies in deciding mitigating measures like evacuation of people and shifting their movable property to safer locations. The Inflow Forecasts at 28 reservoirs are used by the dam authorities in timely operation of reservoir gates for safe flood discharges downstream as well as to ensure adequate storage in the reservoirs for meeting irrigation and hydropower generation demands during non-monsoon period. Such services are normally available during flood period from 1st May/1st June to 31st October/31st December every year. The forecast are disseminated using all types of communication means such as fax, wireless, phone, mob, SMS, email, electronic media, print media, social media, website, etc. Annually, over 6000 flood forecasts and advance warnings are issued by CWC regional offices across the country to the user agencies during floods. The overall accuracy of forecasts issued by CWC over the past years is around 97%.

The Central Water Commission has categorized various flood situations, for monitoring the floods in the country though its flood forecasting network, into four different categories namely low, moderate, high & unprecedented, depending upon the river water level with reference to warning level, danger level, and highest flood level.

    The river is said to be in “LOW FLOOD” situation at any flood forecasting sites when the water level of the river touches or crosses the warning level, but remains below the danger level of the forecasting site. Yellow colour has been assigned to this category.
    If the water level of the river touches or crosses its danger level, but remains 0.50 m below the Highest Flood Level of the site (commonly known as “HFL”) then the flood situation is called the “MODERATE FLOOD” situation. Yellow colour has been assigned to this category.
    If the water level of the river at the forecasting site is below the Highest Flood Level of the forecasting site but still within 0.50m of the HFL then the flood situation is called “HIGH FLOOD” situation. Orange colour has been assigned to this category. In “High Flood Situations” a special “Orange Bulletin” is being issued by the Central Water Commission to the users agencies which contains the “special flood message” related to the high flood.
    The flood situation is said to be “UNPRECEDENTED” when the water level of the river touches or crosses the “HIGHEST FLOOD LEVEL” recorded at any forecasting site so far. Red colour has been assigned to this category. In “Unprecedented Flood Situations” a special “Red Bulletin” is being issued by the Central Water Commission to the users agencies which contains the “special flood message” related to the unprecedented flood.

floods and colour code

Flood Forecasting

What's New in CWC

The total water available in live storage of 91 reservoirs in the country being monitored by CWC was 55.923 BCM as on 14.03.2019.This is 35% of the total live storage capacity of these reservoirs and 100% of storage of average of last ten years. The overall storage position is more than the ..Read More


A roundtable of states is going to be organised on 6th March 2019 at CWC-HQ New Delhi on Inter State Water Governance.


Minutes of 3rd Meeting of Joint Team of Experts of India and Nepal for Pancheshwar Project at Kathmandu signed on 01.03.2019.


34th Meeting of National Committee on Seismic Design Parameters (NCSDP) held on 26.02.2019 at CWC-HQ, New Delhi. 6 Projects were considered by the committee. Member D&R CWC is the chairman of the committee with 11 other experts as members from various organisations.


Central Water Commission in collaboration with Odisha Water Resources Department and the World Bank successfully organised International Dam Safety Conference - 2019 during 13-14 February 2019 at Bhubaneswar, Odisha. It was conculded by holding a press conference on 15 Feb 2019 in the presence ..Read More


39th Meeting of the National Committee on Dam Safety (NCDS) under Chairmanship of Chairman, CWC being held at Bhubaneswar on 11 February 2019.


Chairman, Central Water Commission handed over Emergency Action Plan document of Hirakud Dam to Principal Secretary, Odisha Water Resources Department on January 10 , 2019 at Rajiv Bhawan, Bhubaneswar. The EAP has been prepared under DRIP to act as model document for other Dam owners.


Govt of Gujarat has signed MoU on 7th January 2019 with Central Water Commission and CWPRS at Gandhinagar for Implementation of Coastal Management Information System (CMIS) in the State.