What are the reasons behind flooding in Gurugram?
Considered as cyber city or millennium city. Gurugram is among the most developed regions of India. It is also known as “the Technical hub of North India”. Gurugram was not always like this, it is the result of rapid urbanization and development that has taken place in the last 25-30 years.
Recently, underpasses and roads were completely submerged in water when it rained heavily. This is not the first time when Gurugram was flooded after rain. It happens every year. So, let us look at the reasons behind it.
1. Blocking of Natural Drains:
Gurugram is built on Natural drains. Older maps show that the area had several natural drainage lines and channels. As per reports, there were at least 118 bunds in the Gurugram-Faridabad area, but most of them have disappeared now. These channels are very helpful as they break the flow of water into smaller rivulets and besides recharging groundwater and irrigating agricultural fields.
A 2014 report by the Delhi Parks and Gardens Society shows that at least 200 water bodies that were present in the city in the 20th century have encroached.
Ghata Lake: It is a seasonal water body that covered 370 acres until the early 2000s and it could hold around 50 feet of water. It serves as a floodplain for stormwater drains. Shockingly, it has been converted into a dumping ground and is reduced to 50 acres.
2. Poor development and planning:
We can say that Gurugram is the ultimate planning disaster. City planners despite being aware of the fact that Gurugram was the natural drainage for rainwater from Delhi and nearby areas, they made building and roads on water bodies by filling them up with mud. Rather than they should have built the buildings and roads on areas that are not under natural drains and flood plains.
3. Rapid Urbanisation and population boost:
There has been a population boost in recent years in Gurugram which has resulted in rapid urbanization. People from all over the country have settled in the city in search of jobs and work. This resulted in permeable soil surfaces replaced by impermeable concrete floors.
4. Climate Change:
Because of climate change and rising temperatures, the number of days on which it rains has decreased but the intensity of rainfall has increased. It has become evident that short bursts of intense rainfall are expected to be more common across India.
What can be done?
Rainwater Harvesting should be made compulsory not only for individual houses but for societies also. Rainwater is not a menace rather it is a precious resource.
Singapore is a perfect example of harvesting rainwater – nearly 65% of rainwater is drained into a network of 30 water bodies. There is complete separation of stormwater and sewer channels and by 2035, they would be able to harvest 90% of rainwater.
We need to ensure that we restore whichever of the “Badshahi Bunds” that are still intact on the lines of the Wazirabad-Chakkarpur eco-restoration project.
All the RWAs, local commutes, and corporates have to come together to protect the city.
Flooding during rain is not only limited to only Gurugram but it is common in most of the Indian cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, etc.
This is the smaller picture but the bigger picture is climate change. We need to prevent climate change because unless we prevent climate change the intensity of rainfall is going to increase.
As per estimations out of the total population in 2050, nearly two-thirds of people will be living in cities. There lies a huge challenge ahead of us that how we are going to manage such large inflow of people into cities. Proper planning is required in cities, strict implementation of rainwater harvesting measures and properly managing water bodies that are left. According to NITI AAYOG, 21 Indian cities including will run out of groundwater in 2020. So, maintaining water bodies is necessary for recharging groundwater.
We have to focus on making sustainable smart cities.
Remember the clock is ticking very fast and we have very little time left to prevent the catastrophic changes in climate. (less than a decade) START ACTING NOW.