BMC chief Praveen Pardeshi blames climate change for Mumbai flooding, says 550 mm rainfall in last two days highest in two decades

Mumbai municipal chief Praveen Pardeshi has blamed climate change and geographic phenomena for heavy rains in a short period of time and subsequent flooding in the city which saw water-logging in several areas in the last few days.

After a delayed arrival of the monsoon this year, the slowest onset in 45 years, the financial capital has received 550 mm of rainfall in two days, the highest over a two-day period in a decade, the  the Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner (BMC) said on Monday.


 BMC chief Praveen Pardeshi blames climate change for Mumbai flooding, says 550 mm rainfall in last two days highest in two decades

File Image of BMC chief Praveen Pardeshi. News18

"There is one thing — climate change is happening. We never have rainfall in two days equal to a month's lot, which means more intense rainfall, this is a geographic phenomenon," Pardeshi said. The senior IAS officer said the BMC has been pumping out a massive amount of rainwater something no other city in the world can match.

"Second is higher-run off, despite that the municipal corporation with the help of citizens is trying to ensure that the entire run-off can be pumped out, which is a big thing (and) no other city in the world does it.

"The amount of water that we pump out artificially is equal to the entire drinking water storage in Powai and Vihar lakes (both sources of water for Mumbai)...," he told a private news channel. Pardeshi explained why Mumbai is facing the current situation, which is seen almost every monsoon, and said the stormwater drainage system is not equipped to handle the amount of rainfall the city gets.

"There are two facts which are in terms of business of our geography, one is that we are an island city and over the course of the last 50 years, we have built up most of Mumbai, that is the built-up area is high. So the coefficient of run-off, which in normal cases would be 0.4 to 0.6, if 100 mm rainfall falls, 40 mm would move into the stormwater drainage and the rest would go as
percolation," the BMC chief maintained.

"But if you have built up 100 per cent of the area, then all 100 mm has to run-off in stormwater drains and our stormwater capacity is generally catering to 60 per cent run-off. So there is an additional amount of rain which the stormwater drainage cannot take care of, this combined with high tide, means that the water cannot be discharged in the sea and that is what leads to water-logging," he said.

In a Tweet, the BMC also listed Twitter handles assigned to its various wards and departments in the city, and urged the people to tag the handles designated to their respective wards while tweeting about problems they might encounter during the rainy season.

Over the last many years, Mumbai has been trying to build man-made infrastructure to ensure that water-logging is kept out of many spots and this consists of many pumps and enhanced stormwater drainage capacity, Pardeshi said.

He said the BMC has been prompt in monitoring and pumping out rainwater from flood-prone spots like Hindmata.

Mumbaikars were adversely affected by incessant rains as. Andheri subway had to be shut due to waterlogging. Areas like Hindmata, Parel, Lalbaug, Senapati Bapat road were water-logged. Water-logging was also witnessed in a few buildings in Wadala. In Chembur, water entered houses, prompting citizens to blame the BMC. Wall collapse incidents were reported from 12 places in the city.

"Despite having 550 mm rainfall in two days, which is entire June month's average, this should have rained in about 20 days, it has rained in two days, despite that our pumps are working in full capacity.... so all the water from Hindmata has been pumped out and that is water-logging free..." the senior bureaucrat said.

Updated Date: Jul 01, 2019 23:17:27 IST