Mumbai municipal chief blames climate change for waterlogging

Mumbai municipal chief Praveen Pardeshi has blamed climate change and geographic phenomena for heavy rains in a short period of time and subsequent flooding in the city which saw water-logging in several areas in the last few days.

After a delayed arrival of the monsoon this year, the slowest onset in 45 years, the financial capital has received 550 mm of rainfall in two days, the highest over a two-day period in a decade, the  the Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner (BMC) said on Monday.

“There is one thing — climate change is happening. We never have rainfall in two days equal to a month’s lot, which means more intense rainfall, this is a geographic phenomenon,” Pardeshi said.

The senior IAS officer said the BMC has been pumping out a massive amount of rainwater something no other city in the world can match.

“Second is higher-run off, despite that the municipal corporation with the help of citizens is trying to ensure that the entire run-off can be pumped out, which is a big thing (and) no other city in the world does it. The amount of water that we pump out artificially is equal to the entire drinking water storage in Powai and Vihar lakes (both sources of water for Mumbai)…,” he told a private news channel.

Pardeshi explained why Mumbai is facing the current situation, which is seen almost every monsoon, and said the stormwater drainage system is not equipped to handle the amount of rainfall the city gets.

“There are two facts which are in terms of business of our geography, one is that we are an island city and over the course of the last 50 years, we have built up most of Mumbai, that is the built-up area is high. So the coefficient of run-off, which in normal cases would be 0.4 to 0.6, if 100 mm rainfall falls, 40 mm would move into the stormwater drainage and the rest would go as percolation,” the BMC chief maintained.

“But if you have built up 100 percent of the area, then all 100 mm has to run-off in stormwater drains and our stormwater capacity is generally catering to 60 per cent run-off. So there is an additional amount of rain which the stormwater drainage cannot take care of, this combined with high tide, means that the water cannot be discharged in the sea and that is what leads to water-logging,” he added.

The rains the past couple of days has literally crippled the city on Monday. The suburban railways system was reported running late on multiple routes. Waterlogging to traffic jams, the rains have brought the city to a halt.

13 trains were cancelled on Monday due to continuous rains. Over 87 flights and arrival of 64 had been delayed at the Mumbai airport. About 12 incidents of wall collapse was also reported.

Year-after-year, monsoon-after-monsoon, the wealthiest civic administration of India failed citizens yet again!

Source : Various