Rains bring Bengaluru to a halt again: Why flooding has become a chronic problem in the city

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It’s not been even a month since Bengaluru witnessed flooding that they had to relive the horror of it on Wednesday evening after heavy rain battered the city.

Several areas in the east, south and central parts of the Garden City, were left flooded after heavy downpours.

According to NDTV, the rain began at 7.30 pm on Wednesday, with the shower being so heavy that vehicles were damaged in some areas of the metropolis. The heavy rain also led to the collapse of a wall near Majestic that resulted in damaging several four-wheelers parked on the road.

Residents of Bengaluru took to Twitter to display how bad the flooding was in their areas, with one resident sharing a video of a flooded basement.

On Thursday morning, the weather office issued a yellow alert, indicative of heavy rain, which it said will continue for the next three days.

Last month, the city grappled with unprecedented floods after rain for three straight days. Parts of the city where global IT companies and home-grown start-ups are located were under water, which took days to recede.

As Bengaluru deals with this new downpour, we examine why the city keeps flooding.

Heavy rainfall

According to the India Meteorological Department, Bengaluru received the highest annual rainfall in history — a stunning 1,704 mm.

The previous record was made in 2017, the Bangalore Mirror reported.

Lack of infrastructure

The heavy rainfall has caused massive waterlogging. One of the key reasons for this is the lack of infrastructure. The development in the area has far outstripped its infrastructure.

Nagesh Aras, an activist told News Minute that in 2005, as many as 110 villages were merged into Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) but the city corporation hasn’t bothered to link the villages with the city’s sewage system. “This is why the stormwater drains fail and the raw sewage mixed with rainwater spills out onto the Outer Ring Road,” he was quoted as saying.

Moreover, there are no culverts along the stretch. The road acts like a dam to the flowing water and with the lack of culverts, the rainwater and sewage water have no other way to flow but to be accumulated, leading to waterlogging.

Rainbow Drive Layout located in Sarjapur also sees frequent waterlogging owing to bad planning. Ram Prasad, the co-founder of Friends of Lakes, a citizens’ collective, was quoted as telling Indian Express that over a period of time, the buildings which were constructed close to the layout raised their height, thereby making the area a “soup bowl”.

Poor drainage system

Another reason for the flooding in Bengaluru can be attributed to the poor drainage system.

According to a report, the city’s drainage system is ill-equipped to deal with episodes of sudden and heavy rainfall. Drains are often clogged with garbage, restricting the flow of sewage, and are too narrow to shoulder the burden of the ever-increasing population.

Several drains are being covered with stone slabs and converted into footpaths. While this provides much-needed space for pedestrians, it also means that these drains are not opened and desilted regularly.

A report from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said that Vrushabhavati which had 226 km of drains in the early 1990s, had little over 110 km of drains by 2017. The story of Koramangala valley was similar as well, the drains here too were reduced by half.

Another issue with the drains is the maintenance of them. The CAG report revealed that since 2019-20, BBMP has been giving annual maintenance contracts for drain maintenance, but this covers only 45 per cent of the total drains in the city, which is 377 km out of 842 km. The situation is worse in peripheral areas of Bengaluru, where contracts are given for cleaning less than 50 per cent of the drain length.

With inputs from agencies

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Rains bring Bengaluru to a halt again: Why flooding has become a chronic problem in the city
Rains bring Bengaluru to a halt again: Why flooding has become a chronic problem in the city
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