Science Target Conference Systems, Ajman 4th International Environment Conference 2016

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Flood risk management in the coastal megacity Mumbai: Challenges under a changing climate
Shadananan Nair Krishnapillai

Last modified: 2015-12-20


Millions of poor with low adaptive capacity living in slums and coastal zones make the megacity Mumbai highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Extremes in climate together with anthropogenic activities cause severe floods, resulting in casualties and large-scale damage to infrastructure. Uncontrolled growth in urban population makes flood management complicated. Indiscriminate encroachment into waterways, inadequate capacity of drains and improper maintenance of the drainage infrastructure creates severe floods during monsoons. The city also faces threat from the sea level rise, increased wave action and increasing frequency and severity of cyclones. Large waves contaminate the coastal water resources. Destruction of wetlands, paddy fields and canals in and around the city aggravate the flood conditions. Release of solid wastes into sewage channels results in flash floods, leading to serious environmental and health issues. Flooding creates socio-economic issues such as mass migration to the interior leading to competition and conflict over resources and large investment required for adaptation and impact mitigation. This paper analyses the impact of floods in the city and critically reviews the current policies and adaptation strategies. Analysis shows an increasing trend in rainfall seasonality and intensity, and proneness to floods. Current measures for impact mitigation and climate change adaptation are poor. National Disaster Management Authority is yet to release guidelines for urban flood management. Climate policy doesn’t consider urban water issues seriously. Suggestions for an appropriate urban policy and flood impact mitigation strategy have been provided, considering the present scenario and possible changes predicted by models.