Urbanisation and Sustainable Water Management
The report of CAG had referred to the Chennai floods in 2015 as a man-made disaster. On a contradicting note, the city of Chennai is now in the midst of another crisis — of water scarcity.
Water Crisis haunting Chennai
Even though both have diagonally opposite characteristics the reasons for both can be attributed to causes like encroachment of lakes and river floodplains.
More than 30 waterbodies of significance in Chennai have disappeared in the past century. Further concretisation has affected the percolation of rainwater into the soil, thereby depleting groundwater levels to a point of no return.
But Chennai is not alone in burdening the sufferings of the unplanned urbanisation. There are examples even in other cities such as Bengaluru, Hyderabad.
Models to tackle the Crisis
Cities not just in India but around the world are suffering from the misfortunes of unplanned urbanization. Here’s a list of some successful models in tackling the water crisis.
Mission Kakatiya of Telangana involves the restoration of irrigation tanks and lakes/minor irrigation sources built by the Kakatiya dynasty.
Reclaiming of Kundalahalli Lake
Kundalahalli lake in Bengaluru which had made way for a landfill has been reclaimed through corporate social responsibility funds in a Public-Private Partnership model.
As per estimates half of India will be living in cities in 30 years from now. If sustainable water management is not made an integral part of urban planning, people and the next generations who could be living life in cities parched by drought, stranded by floods, mortified by earthquakes or torn by wars over freshwater.
The Chennai crisis is not an alarm, but it is an explosion signalling to wake up or else humanity would be facing the consequences of nature wreaking great havoc on humanity.
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