Mumbai ready for rain, not heavy rain
“The city is prepared, but not enough.” That’s the verdict by the Hindustan Times’ panel of experts on Mumbai’s monsoon preparedness. But Mumbai often sees heavy rains, and there are several days this July when tides will be unusually high, report Sujit Mahamulkar, Sayli Udas Mankikar & Bhavika Jain.india Updated: Jun 09, 2009 01:19 IST
“The city is prepared, but not enough.” That’s the verdict by the
panel of experts on Mumbai’s monsoon preparedness.
Explaining this statement, the four experts who visited 10 different spots in the city as part of HT’s annual pre-monsoon audit said: “It means the city won’t flood if there’s no heavy rainfall and especially if it does not coincide with high tides.”
But Mumbai often sees heavy rains, and there are several days this July when tides will be unusually high.
The pre-monsoon work done by the various agencies in the city is better than what was done last year, said experts. “But it’s cosmetic.”
For instance, you can see water flowing in the nullahs encroached by shanties. Which means silt has been removed from the accessible spots. But there’s silt below the encroachments and near the mouth of these nullahs.
“In the event of heavy rain and high tide, there is sure to be an overflow of water, which will submerge low-lying areas,” said retired deputy municipal commissioner PR Sanglikar and a member of the HT audit panel.
What’s defined as heavy rainfall? Anything over 50mm rain in an hour. But even with moderate rainfall (below 50mm) the city can flood, if the high tide is in excess of 4.5 metres. There are five days next month when tides will exceed this level.
Civic officials, however, said the city is all set. VL Joshi, chief engineer, storm water drain, said: “We are ready. Even if it floods during heavy rainfall, the rainwater will recede in two to three hours.”
“All precautionary measures have been put in place. There will be no inconvenience due to our work,” said Dilip Kawathkar, joint project director, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority.