Reengineering of city infra should be a priority to tackle flood: Civic experts

Published on May 14, 2022 12:07 AM IST

Retrofitting is the process of reengineering or adding new technology or features to an already existing infrastructure to adapt to its present environment

Mumbai Monsoon Floods - Dadar 5.45 HT Photo by Vikas khot. 26/07/05
Mumbai Monsoon Floods - Dadar 5.45 HT Photo by Vikas khot. 26/07/05
ByPratip Acharya

Mumbai: In a bid to mitigate climate change and to make the existing infrastructure of the city well equipped with all the flood abatement measures, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) may soon reengineer the existing public infrastructure of Mumbai.

Speaking at the Climate Crisis conference, organised by Mumbai First on Friday, senior civic officials and experts in urban development collectively stated that residential, commercial, and industrial properties in the city must be retrofitted in the long run to abate flooding.

“There are several housing societies that are built on floodplains or low-lying zones. We need to understand our immediate priorities and then implement these measures at the ground level to prevent huge losses of lives and properties in the long run,” said P Velrasu, additional municipal commissioner (Projects).

Retrofitting is the process of reengineering or adding new technology or features to an already existing infrastructure to adapt to its present environment. Friday’s event focused on identifying projects and strategies to mobilise climate finance for resilient urbanisation in coastal cities like Mumbai.

“The procedure of retrofitting needs to be done in two aspects. In public properties like footpaths, we can update the existing design by installing water holding tanks or percolation pits in them. Meanwhile, in private properties like housing societies, retrofitting of the existing infrastructure could be done when the building is going for repairs,” informed P Velrasu.

Lubaina Rangwala, programme head of World Resources Institute (WRI) stated that all the different measures of retrofitting and reengineering the infrastructures should be strategically planned to make sure the process is cost-effective.

“We need to reimagine the stilt parking areas as green spaces and have to think about building percolation pits at a strategic level. Considering the immense property losses that are reported during monsoon every year, the policies should be cost-effective,” Rangwala said.

Velrasu also maintained the need to have transparency in the Mumbai Climate Action Plan (MCAP) and emphasised the fact that after every two years, a gap report should be published that would compare the actual performance of the climate action cell with potential or desired performance.

“A major chunk of the funds for battling climate change is coming from the government and public enterprises, unlike the west, where private players are largely involved. This is why we need to identify the factors that are immediate threats for us, and which will affect us in the long run and will have to invest accordingly,” said Velrasu.

Rangwala furthermore said that mitigation and adaptation in Mumbai go hand in hand.

“At present, the means of development are confined within the conventional means like building bridges and roads. Mumbai is still a low peak city in terms of carbon emission, and it is important for the decision-makers to come up with critical and strategic adaptation methods in small and big ways in the long run,” said Rangwala.

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