Cities, climate change and urban flooding

Source: The post is based on the article “Cities, climate change and urban flooding” published in Business standard on 20th July 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3- Disaster and disaster management.

News: The author discusses the challenges urban areas face due to climate change, such as flooding and infrastructure damage, emphasizing the need for improved urban planning, infrastructure, and global cooperation to address these issues and promote sustainable city growth.

What are the causes of the rise in urban flooding?

Climate Change: Increases unpredictable weather patterns, leading to intense rainfall, heatwaves, and cyclones.

Unplanned Urban Growth: Rapid expansion over natural resources makes cities vulnerable.

Human Encroachment: Building on active flood channels leads to urban flooding.

Inadequate Flood Management: Many cities lack proper flood control practices. For example, urban India frequently experiences waterlogging, highlighting municipal unpreparedness.

Waste Disposal Issues: Solid waste in drainage systems exacerbates flooding.

What are the challenges urban areas face due to the rise in urban flooding?

Infrastructure Damage: Heavy rainfall and flooding can damage buildings and roads, disrupting daily life. Example: frequent waterlogging in Indian cities.

Emergency Response: Unexpected disasters strain city resources and redirect budgets from growth to recovery.

Transportation Disruption: Floods can bring essential services to a halt, affecting socioeconomic activities.

Pollution Issues: Large amounts of contaminated runoff can overwhelm urban drainage systems, causing flash floods.

Health Risks: Poor air quality and contaminated water increase public health risks.

Food, Water, and Energy Security: Natural disasters threaten these basic needs, especially in coastal cities.

Housing Issues: In many developing cities, the poor often build homes in risky, flood-prone areas, increasing the harm caused by floods.

What should be done?

Improve Urban Planning: Focus on energy-efficient designs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the subsequent risk of severe weather.

Strengthen Infrastructure: Build systems that can withstand extreme weather. This can help prevent situations like the frequent waterlogging in Indian cities.

Prioritize Waste Management: Address the issue of solid waste in drainage systems to reduce flooding risks.

Enhance Emergency Preparedness: Cities need early warning systems for floods and other disasters.

Promote Global Cooperation: Join initiatives like the 100 Resilient Cities and the Global Covenant of Mayors for shared solutions.

Encourage Citizen Involvement: Local action plans involving residents can support municipal efforts.

Shift to Clean Production: Embrace renewable energy and reduce industrial emissions, benefiting both climate and local air quality.

Protect Natural Resources: Ensure urban growth respects and conserves the environment.

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