Except for a few spots in north India, most of the monsoon season had seen below normal rainfall this year (2011). In fact some states were in a drought, when all of a sudden the heavens opened in September, the last month of the season.
The picture of the Mahanadi River gage shows high water, actually about 1 meter (3 feet) below the flood crest. The river is about 1.5 Km (1 mile) wide at flood stage in the photo and 150 meters (450 feet) wide under normal conditions. People live in the flood plain and are displaced every year during the monsoons.
The picture was taken from the embankment that protects the City of Cuttack from the River. Unfortunately because of the high water in the river the rain that falls on the city can’t escape through the embankment without massive pumping capacity, which the city doesn’t have. As a result the city is flooded with a combination of rain water and sewage. Not pretty. This is the problem we are solving with sewer separation, an improved drainage system and very large pumps to the tune of several hundred million dollars.