October , 2022
The Most Ignored Problem - Floods in Big Cities
22:04 pm

Madhusudhanan S

Floods are a recurring phenomenon in India. For the past few years, we can see more floods happening in big Indian cities. The city life gets halted for a few days (at least for a week) due to flood and water stagnation issues and policy-makers remain nonchalant about solving this issue.

Major Reasons for Floods


The long-going problem in all parts of major cities in India is drainage. Whenever there is heavy rain in any part of the country, there are floods. Metropolitan cities are badly affected because of heavy rains in India. In India, city planning has failed in the design of drainage systems. The problem of floods because of heavy rains not only occurs in metropolitan cities but also in second-grade cities.

The government needs to address these issues at the earliest so that people are safe during floods.

Occupation of Water Bodies

Many household buildings and real estate have occupied what were once water bodies. We cannot see the lakes and ponds anymore in many of the areas where they existed earlier. Occupying these water bodies is the major reason for floods and the government should take rectifying measures.

Failure of Rain Water Harvesting

Another reason for floods and water stagnation is the failure to do rainwater harvesting. People have failed to do rainwater harvesting. They not only occupy the water bodies by building structures in and around them but also completely ignore rain water harvesting. Most of the rain water becomes wastewater and either goes through the drainage channel or goes to the sea/ocean. This affects the groundwater level as well.

Dumping of Waste

Dumping of waste near the water bodies and drainage is also another reason for floods and water stagnation. By doing so, the drainage gets clogged, which causes the non-movement of water into the drainage and gets flooded. When the wastages get dumped in and around the water bodies, the water becomes unusable because of dumping.

Ignorance of Environmental Damage among Educated People

People’s greed is causing havoc in the living condition of our lives. Yes, people’s greed and ignorance are one of the causes of floods. People’s greed to earn more money through real estate makes them occupy water bodies and their ignorance of why water bodies are essential is what makes them do the same very easily without any regrets or guilt.

Damaged caused by the Floods

In the past five years, due to an increase in global warming and increase in population (along with occupying of water bodies) floods have also occurred in areas that were earlier not considered flood-prone areas.According to the Central Water Commission Report 2022, death from floods increased from 37 in 1953 to 1,815 in 2020.

More than 40 million hectares (mha) are flood-prone areas out of the total geographical area. The average Annual Flood damage was `23068.626 crores (from 2010 to 2020). These are attributed mainly to rapid urbanisation with an increase in population and global warming.

During the period 2017-18 to 2020-21, `1574.68 Crore has been released as Grant- in Aid to the states under the Flood Management Programme (FMP) component and `527.82 Crore has been spent under the River Management Activities & Works related to Border Areas (RMBA) component of Flood Management Programme (FMP) thereby making a total of `2102.5 Crores.

A total of 522 schemes costing `13238.37 Cr were approved during XI (420 projects costing `7857.08 Crores) Plan and XII (102 projects costing `5381.29 Crores) Plan.

Floods during the past 10 years


States and Cities Affected


North Indian Floods – Main affected State Uttarakhand


Gujarat Floods – widespread flood in Saurashtra region Amreli district got affected severely


Chennai Floods – having Great Financial Loss and human lives. Chennai, Cuddalore and Chidambaram districts were among those most severely affected districts


Assam – affecting 1.8 million people and killing around 200 Animals in Kaziranga National Park


Gujarat – was affected by the severe flood resulting in more than 200 deaths


Kerala—resulting in over 445 deaths


caused 98 fatalities, a part of the 2020 North Indian Ocean cyclone season


Uttarakhand caused by an avalanche from Ronti peak


Assam Floods—197 death

Source: Wikipedia andWalkthrough India

What should we do?

The remodeling of cities must be done in such a way that rainwater gets harvested to a greater extent and gets drained. This must be done ideally by the government on their own or through PPP mode. The design has to be perfect.

By doing rainwater harvesting, the city’s water problem can be solved. Compulsory rain water harvesting in cities and towns can avoid floods and water logging problems. Recently, rain has created havoc by flooding homes even in cities like Bengaluru (Bengaluru is a city which normally receives rain even during summers). This shows how well the city’s drainage system is maintained. If the heavy rains of Mumbai, Chennai or Hyderabad occur in Delhi—then Delhi will drown in no time. though such heavy rain does not occur in Delhi. Therefore, a proper drainage system must be kept in a place where the excess water (or wastewater) is drained out properly in no time. The drainage system must be well maintained.

Maintaining the water bodies should be the foremost objective. In the olden days, water was the responsibility of citizens and the community took the responsibility for maintaining water bodies. This kind of collective community work for preserving water bodies must be brought back into the system.

Every citizen needs to be educated about the environmental damage caused by not only occupying water bodies but also by all kinds of pollution. This may bring some sense to people that greed is not good for healthy and good living.



Madhusudhanan S, is an Independent Economic Policy Analyst, New Delhi.





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