I live in Hyderabad. A city that has been developing very well for a long time now, and yet, recently, my flight got diverted to Chennai because Hyderabad was flooded and the airport operations were at halt.
How can such things happen to big cities like Hyderabad, or Delhi, or for that matter, Mumbai, where floods have become a seasonal thing?
A very simple answer could be that the drainage systems aren’t good enough in the cities and hence water logging is common. But is it just the drainage?
Urbanisation Vs Nature
Like 2020 wasn’t giving us enough crap, several cities were under deluge this monsoon. The biggest reason being – urbanisation mostly happens at the cost of the natural flow of water.
Floods don’t get into cities, it is the other way around. Buildings fall on the path of rainwater which would otherwise flow into natural drainages like lakes and ponds. But how many lakes are even left in these big cities anymore?
Cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi and Pune have very high recharge potential but are very low on vegetation and hence have seen multiple floods in recent times.
Other factors could include garbage being dumped in very old drainage networks, illegal constructions, over-urbanisation, and ignorance of topology.
Smart Cities – About Tech Or About Water?
We need cities that are smarter in terms of water management than technology at the moment. India sees monsoon for 3 to 4 months every year. We cannot and should not ignore that for those few months every year, our lives become miserable merely due to mismanagement by authorities.
Is it a lack of preparedness? Not really. Every city has flood rescue and management teams, and familiarity programs, but then it stops right there and does not go to full implementation.
This might sound very cliched, but cutting trees is one of the worst things we can do to ourselves because it makes our cities prone to extreme weather, especially to disasters like floods.
We definitely need better planning in terms of predicting irregular rain patterns, awareness of flood hotspots and planning ways in which local authorities can help the people.
If there are any architecture, engineering, or environmental planning students reading this article, please tell us your thoughts in the comments below. Hopefully, we will be able to do better in the coming years, otherwise, floods will keep causing loss of life and property.
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This post is tagged under: afforestation, Assam floods, bihar floods, effects of urbanization, floods damage, hyderabad floods, smart cities, water planning