Floods in London, floods in Pakistan, floods in China, monsoons inundating parts of India; the meteorological refrain is: how can the world’s largest cities improve and re-integrate their obsolete drainage systems to keep up with the increasingly severe floods brought on by (very probably) global warming?
In India, the seasonal floods soaking the cities have been worsened by inadequate drainage systems and uncontrolled urbanization. In 2005, ten major Indian cities suffered floods, while in 2006 that number doubled to twenty.
In Delhi, the national Central Road Research Institute’s (CRRI) is pioneering an ‘eco-phalt’ project that utilizes a technology called Drain Asphalt Modified Additive that allows asphalt to absorb surface water quicker. A test drive of the material was undertaken in 2006 on a stretch of highway through Dhaula Kuan, near Delhi.Other cities such as Mumbai have started up 30 automatic weather stations linked up with state-of-the-art tipping bucket rain gauges at 26 locations all over the city which can determine precise rain patterns in real time.
In Bangalore, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board (BWSSB) is employing a GIS application called BISON (Bangalore Infosysytems on Network) that controls and maintains its urban water and wastewater network.
Kolkata (Calcutta) is now experimenting with a 3D flood simulation model in order to map variable flood scenarios. Calicut, a city in the southern state of Kerala, has initiated a scheme called MATURE (Mission for Application of Technology to Urban Renewal and Engineering), an integrative development strategy that will regenerate local ponds and model its infrastructure for drainage and wastewater.
Of course, all this innovation is not just restricted to India – other cities, such as Tokyo, Lyon, Zurich are all experimenting with different technologies to deal with flooding, whether it is a version of ‘eco-phalt’, or improved drain-blockers that seal manholes to prevent overflows, or programs that calculate surface runoffs or GIS applications that map flood-vulnerable areas. Combined with ecological methods of revamping drainage systems, perhaps cities will hopefully be better equipped to avert potential watery disasters. ::Hindustan Times
Image credit: AP Photo