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Mumbai civic body plans 2-hour warning for spots prone to flooding

By next year’s monsoon, BMC hopes to tie up with mobile service providers to send out area-specific messages to residents.

mumbai Updated: Jun 11, 2019 00:58 IST
Eeshanpriya M S
Eeshanpriya M S
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,mumbai floods,mumbai rains
A weather system in the Arabian Sea brought thundershowers to Mumbai on Monday. (Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

To ease your monsoon woes, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is currently working on an evacuation plan for flood-prone areas, where residents will be alerted at least two hours in advance about flooding in their area.

This year, the civic body will implement the plan with the help of local corporators, members of advance locality management (ALMs) and nearby police stations, but by next year’s monsoon, BMC hopes to tie up with mobile service providers to send out area-specific messages to residents.

“A system will monitor how much rainfall was received by a flood-prone area, and refer to forecasts of rainfall expected in the area over the next four-five hours. Based on this and records of flooding in the area, we can predict if a flood-prone area is going to get waterlogged over the next few hours,” a senior civic official associated with the project said.

The local corporators and other officials will inform residents about how much time they have before flooding begins in the area. They will give details of nearby civic shelters and pick-up points for evacuation, and alert residents to carry their important documents.

The plan is based on BMC’s disaster management (DM) department’s disaster response and evacuation plan for residents living along the banks of the four rivers – Dahisar, Mithi, Oshiwara, and Poisar – which was finalised earlier this year.

Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi directed the disaster management department to replicate this for chronic flooding spots.

Work on drafting the plan for 10 flooding spots has already begun on a pilot basis.

“We are planning to generate scenarios based on rainfall predictions. Based on a certain scenario, we find out if a particular part of Mumbai is going to receive heavy rainfall. Then we can run the scenario to study the impact on our nullahs and low-lying areas, and figure out how many houses will be affected. We can then warn people if it is really severe and put more pumps to remove water,” Pardeshi said.

The evacuation details also include information about transport services to shift distressed residents to the shelters, food services and medical facilities in the area.

Currently, BMC is mapping out the facilities available near a flooding spot with the help of the geographic information system (GIS). It is making a list of how many houses, residents, shop owners, schools and colleges in the area will be affected. The civic body is also working on a system to alert the DM department of dangerous levels of rainfall.

“Right now, we plan to send out this information to corporators, ALMs and police stations, who can relay it to citizens for us. For the monsoon in 2020, we will have a plan in place to interact directly with affected citizens on their mobile phones,” the civic official said.

First Published: Jun 11, 2019 00:57 IST