Heavy rains during the 2005 flooding in Mumbai. Photo: Mohit Gupta via flickr.
Last week Mumbai was high and dry, with only two weeks of water supply left in some reservoirs, when expected monsoon rains failed to live up to historic expectations. Well, nature has complied and Mumbai now faces the opposite problem, flooding. AFP reports that it appears the crisis is over, with water stocks replenishing, but the whole thing really cuts to the heart of climate change and the vulnerability of one of the world's largest cities:Just a week ago the city had cut water supplies back 30%, with some areas only receiving water for less than an hour a day. At one point officials considering seeding the clouds to make it rain.
In other years, flooding devastates parts of the city. In 2005, some 450 people lost their lives in Mumbai itself and over one thousand in the state of Maharashtra.
Monsoon Changes Likely to Continue as Problem
While it would probably be premature to blame this year's seemingly receding water crisis on climate change, weird weather is very much likely a sign of things to come in India.
A number of different studies have highlighted the effect of climate change on the monsoon, and non of them paint a pretty picture.
One from Purdue University shows that the over South Asia as a whole climate change is likely to decrease the intensity of the monsoon and change its onset date.
Another, from Oregon State University, shows that in the past there have been abrupt changes in the monsoon which dragged the majority of its rainfall out over the ocean, severely impacting vegetation growth.
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