8% rise in urbanisation makes Vasai,Virar prone to floods: StudyUpdated: Dec 04, 2019 00:31 IST
The twin towns of Vasai and Virar witnessed an 8% rise in urbanisation between 2004 and 2019, revealed a recent study conducted by an architectural institute in Mumbai. The rise in urbanisation has not only made the Vasai-Virar belt more prone to flooding, but has also resulted in the depletion of ground-water levels.
According to the study, in 2004, the urbanised area in the belt, sprawling around 380 sqkm, was around 12%, which increased to 20% by 2019. Urbanisation also had an impact in the region’s green cover, with the vegetation in the area reducing to 25% in 14 years from 30% mapped in 2004. Maps revealed that while 25% of the area was used for agricultural activities a decade ago, by 2019, it shrunk to 23%.
The study was conducted by a team of 12 students pursuing the postgraduate course in Urban Design and Conservation at the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture (KRVIA) in Juhu, from August to November, using Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping and satellite images of the belt. The students studied the maps of the belt from 1954, its evolution, flora-fauna and land-cover and water-system analysis.
Sharvari Kotkar, one of the researchers, said, “The increased concretisation in the area has resulted in cutting streams that acted as a natural drainage system. The sea-levels are also rising by 2-3mm every year. Every monsoon, 40% of the area gets inundated, which may increase to 60% in a decade, if similar concretisation continues.”
Sowmya Kannan, another researcher, said, “The pattern of urbanisation is different in various areas, with some having seen an increase in just ware-house units in the past few years.”
The students of urban design have developed different case-studies as a part of the Building Resilient Urban Communities (BReUCom) project, which is looking at developing educational programmes to tackle climate change. The project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, is looking to develop 10 such case studies in India.
Manoj Parmar, dean, post-graduate programme at KRVIA, said, “We are also looking to involve urban local bodies in this programme, which is mainly focussed at finding ways to tackle development overlapping ecology.”