This monsoon is going worst for South India with heavy floods taking lives in Kodagu and Kerala. In this context, Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) has now predicted heavy rainfall for Bengaluru in the month of September. The city seems to have escaped the brunt of rainfall but its luck may run out soon as experts have predicted something similar to 2017.
It is said that the repeat of last year’s flooding could be a possibility. If we look back, in 2017, the rainfall in September and October had crossed its normal limits. Bengaluru received 383.3 mm of rain in September, while the normal number is around 179 mm. The situation in the month of October was no less as it was 226.9 mm against 159.7 mm. So, in total, there was an excess of 120 percent in September and 42 Percent in October.
The city is not yet in the safe zone
There is a prediction of heavy rainfalls but it is not as much as that of 2017 but according to officials, the city is not yet in the safe zone. In fact, this year, Bengaluru Urban district has a 30 percent deficit in rainfall (June to August).
“This is similar to the situation last year. While rains in the next two months might not be as heavy as last year, it doesn’t mean that the city is safe,” KSNDMC director, Srinivas Reddy, said.
Weather patterns building up over the Bay of Bengal could bring heavy rains to the city if they develop into a full-fledged storm. The Centre has also sent out an advisory to the BBMP warning them of the same. (Source: New Indian Express)
Possibility of Flooding
Let us see few things in detail. In the limits of BBMP, there are 633 stormwater drains, totaling 842 km. Out of these, primary drains make up 142 km and secondary drains 426 km. These drains can only deal with rainfall of 80 mm a day. However, the encroachments and poor maintenance have brought down the capacity to just 35-40 mm of rainfall. So, any rainfall above this capacity will result in flooding.
Three Mistakes of BBMP
1. In July 2016, BBMP managed to clear only 1,255 encroachments against a list of 1,953 stormwater drain encroachments given to then chief minister Siddaramiah. Since 2017, BBMP has not taken up the encroachment removal drive. However, a few months back they have started the work but it is too late to save the city in case of uncertainties.
“For one year, BBMP did nothing but wait for surveyors. Natural calamities do not wait for anyone,” a BBMP official lamented.
2. BBMP has 141 lakes under its control out of 160 existing lakes of the city. Silt has been removed from 58 lakes, and the tender to remove silt from another 15 lakes was called recently. This delay of not removing silt before rainfall can affect in a big way. If it rains heavily or even slightly above the normal figures, there will be an overflow of water in and around lakebed areas.
3. BBMP’s unplanned decision making has led to an increase in the paved surfaces in the city by 78%. Also, there is a reduction of open spaces,wetlands and vegetation cover.
However, on the other hand, BBMP has managed to cover the drains in most places to avoid the deaths that happened last year during rains.
BT Bettegowda, BBMP Chief Minister (SWD), said, “This time, Bengaluru will not flood. We have taken adequate measures.” However other officials in the BBMP realize that these efforts might not be of any use this year.
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