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Mubai Flooding Case Study Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 5344 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The metropolis of Mumbai that include suburbs and city region of Mumbai received 39.1 inch (994mm) rainfall in single day on 26th July 2005. This is a case of natural disaster in a single metro city where in flood situation happened because of heavy on spot rain and not because of typical reasons of flood in any area due to over flooding of rivers.

Justification of selection of case

This case is selected because it is being a flood situation in commercial capital of India which is claimed to be progressing toward becoming city like shanghai in terms of infrastructure and facilities. The financial capital of India grown from 10 lakhs to 128 lakhs of population in a decade but the system waterways, drains, rivers have not been upgraded and updated accordingly. In Mumbai water logging is a decade old problem and we are accustomed to it. In 21st century every year on an average 5 days are lost when educational institutions and offices (Mumbai is the financial capital of India) remain shutting due to heavy rain and flooding during monsoon.

The severity of 26th July2005 heavy rainfall and water logging was the situation when thousands of people died, lakhs were injured and uncountable were affected economically and physically. It raises the immediate need for action from multiple agencies. It gives chance to analyse emergency preparedness of government agencies, private bodies, NGO’s and individual.

To solve the problem various forums and agencies are continuously talking since 1991,but till now nothing has happened as central and state government have not allotted sufficient money to materialize the issue even after the shocking event of 26th July 2005.

During water logging and flooding substantial amount of damage caused. Disrupt transportation cause hampering of economic and financial activities. This hurt industry and service sector tremendously .GDP and GNP growth of country rises to 8.5% where Mumbai growth rate falls 2.1%.Mumbai loses more than 800 crore rupees due to this problem. 3000 crore rupees treated as capital investment. Mumbai has given 80,000crore rupees as revenue to government of India in the year 2005-06 and 22,000 crore rupees earned by government of Maharashtra as duties, taxes, cess in the same year.

Objectives of Case Study

The collection of data related to damage to human life and assets by this flood.

Systematic compilation of relevant data to come to the stage of making action plans, policies and procedures for removing water logging and flooding in Mumbai.

To identify factors responsible for 26 July 2005 flood in Mumbai.

Lessons we learn from this disaster and efforts we are doing to reduce such disasters in future.

Developments of an efficient methodology which is economical, easy to interpret by charts and maps related to such severe situation very rapidly and start responding quickly.

Review of work done so far on this issue.

Area under study

Areas badly affected by flood

Lower parts of Southern Mumbai

Sea shore areas of Western Mumbai

Densely populated areas of Central parts of Mumbai

Lower area of Kurla and Kalina

Roads and Railways were badly affected by this flood.

Responsible reasons

The sewage system of Mumbai can carry only 25 millimeters of rain water per hour which was extremely inadequate when rainfall was 994 mm. The drainage system was clogged at several places.

Heavy rain and High tide time was same that day due to which 103 outlet gates that connected drainages that directly open to sea get overflowed. The situation became worse because drainages were not clean and filled with garbage that blocked the outflow of rain water and it got accumulated on the roads.

The severity of situation worsened because warning about heavy rainfall and high tide was not given on time on Radio and Television stations by the civic agencies.

The Meteorological department was not having sophisticated weather radars which can give 3 hour prior warning.

Massive encroachment on mouth of major nallas and heavy diversions and encroachment of Mithi and other rivers acted as blockage to rain water running towards river.

Development by MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority) without proper environmental clearance increase the pressure on existing drainage system which is already poor and old fashioned

Old fashioned and poor drainage system.

Bandra Kurla complex which is constructed by replacing swampy areas; the Environment Ministry of the Government of India was informed about its potential disaster and appeal not to sanction it but no action has been taken on time.

Destruction of mangroves ecosystem for construction and encroachment. This ecosystem exists along the Mithi River and Mahim Creek. This swampy area acts as a buffer between land and sea. Sewage and garbage dumps have also destroyed mangroves. The most acclaimed Mindspace (INORBIT MALL) in Goregaon & Malad has been built by destroying a large patch of Mangrooves in Maharashtra.1

^ http://mdmu.maharashtra.gov.in/pdf/Flood/statusreport.pdf

Recorded data from government offices


Recorded loss

Actual loss

Human life loss



Spoilt Rickshaw



Taxis Damaged



BEST Buses Damaged



Trucks and tempo grounded



Local Trains damaged



Preparedness expectation from government

Loopholes in preparedness in actual system

Clean and clear drainage

Household waste filled drainages join major nallas and river banks

20 Active out flow gates

Only 4 working channel gates

1000 trained volunteers for quick response

Appointed procedure and training is pending

Result and Recommendations

Strategic Planning

First is the requirement of suitable methods to make decisions when criteria to choose are too many.

Information Analysis System (IAS): A process that systematically access, integrate and analyze the information fragmented in various dependents and independent variables by arranging them in proper hierarchy.

To present a new method of calculating risk probability of flood hazard by analyzing data gathered from census, land use mapping, geomorphic details of land cover.

Using the above analyzed and integrated data in software like GIS for Hazard mapping. This flood vulnerability risk probability will give the probability of being flooded when certain level of rainfall occur as well as other decision factors of different level and sub factors are also present like high tide, distance of active water gates from sea. It will also suggest methods to nullify some decision factors or level of sub factors at appropriate time so that loss of life and assets can be reduced.

To calculate flood vulnerability probability (FVP) there are set of primary data collected from topographic maps, population data of the regional divisions of Mumbai, Atlas & Thematic Mapping Organization (NATMO), and Statistical Offices respectively.

The FVP is calculated for possible inundated areas of Mumbai.

FVP is divided into five category very low, low, medium, high and very high. The categories are based on histogram distribution and the Flood Hazard Maps. Higher the FVP, higher the risk of inundation and water logging threat. The flood hazard map presents relevant and accurate analysis through GIS environment.

Flood vulnerability probability (FVP)

FVP= ∑ (Pab-RIWab)


Where, FVP = Flood vulnerability probability

Pab = probability of level a of decision factor b,

RIWab = relative importance weight of level a decision factor b.

RIW abj = relative importance weight of sub-factor j of level a decision factor b.


Decision factor

Sub factor

Overflowed nallahas

Blocked nallahas

Distance from connecting nallahas

Low lying area

Lower than average standard of low lying above sea level(ASL)

Distance from sea

High tide


Outfalls are narrow sized



Unavailable pumping facility

Flood mapping and zoning

Flood hazard zoning will help in regulating flood hazard areas & minimize the loss of life and assets in future.

Flood management and control will help in land planning, controlling and management of water that is a scarce resource. Water needed areas of the countries will get benefitted when flood water will diverted to these areas through proper channeling. Economy of India will move to prosperity when agricultural land and densely populated areas will get sufficient water for farming and drinking

Drainage modeling

Population of Mumbai has risen by 60% in last 25 years. Migration to Mumbai is the main cause of increase in population. This caused pressure on existing land for housing and infrastructure and resulted in encroachment of land, Nallas, and Mithi river and other river banks and on drainage system. Drainage modeling requires:

Emphasis on proper land use planning

This is the best method for achieving the goal of “Freeing Mumbai from Flood”. It requires systematic data collection on the work done in this area and them compiling relevant data to make an action plan. After discussing plan of action with concerned authorities testing it in small area , if it work effectively then apply it in all areas of Mumbai in phases. Mumbai suffers from flood situation when there is heavy rain (or not so heavy rain) and the water does not dispose off in reasonable time. The well known reasons are increasing population, scarcity of land, use of no development zones, without increasing capacity of nallahs constructions are done there, diversion of Mithi river to make airport, disappearance of small lakes and ponds increase in slums whose waste directly goes in water ways.

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Flood in every monsoon season is become severe in low lying areas of Mumbai which become more dangerous in high tide situation because nallahs’ width in those areas in narrow and natural drainage is restricted due to new developments like in SV road and LBS marg. The present drainage system in the city consists of underground single water drainages discharging into the sea through short outfalls. The present drainage system in the suburban areas consists of creeks so rainwater runoff towards there. A system of open surface drain consists here. Massive infrastructure development along with cementing of roads and increasing their heights effects water absorbing capacity. To expedite projects that could curb flooding in Mumbai, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee increased the allocation for the Brihanmumbai storm water drain (Brimstowad) project in the current fiscal year from Rs200 crore, earmarked during the interim budget, to Rs500 crore (source DNA ).

The project will help the BMC increase the water retention capacity of existing storm water drains. A fact-finding committee appointed to look into reasons for the July 26, 2005, deluge had suggested this as an immediate measure. The Manmohan Singh government, which was at the helm even then, had then agreed to completely fund the Rs1, 200-crore project.

Statistics of Mumbai’s drainage system network:

Length of nallahs and drain


Island city

Eastern suburb

Western Suburb


Major Nallah(km)

Width >1.5m





Minor nallah(km)






Drain (km)





Road side open drain





Closed pipe drain





No. of water entrances





System of Rainwater disposal in Mumbai


Island city

Eastern suburb

Western suburb


Discharge in

Arabian sea




Mahim creek





Mahul creek




Thane creek





Outfalls which are below sea level are 45, outfalls which are above sea level but below high tide level are 135 and outfalls above high tide levels are 6.

Maintenance of natural drainage

There are many natural drainage in Mumbai. Maintaining them is also one efficient method to reduce emergencies like 26th July 2005 flood.

Tulsi lake: Its dam have 2 spillways which discharge into Dahisar river and Vihar lake.

Vihar lake: Its spillways discharge into Mithi river.

Powai lake: Its discharge also meets Mithi river

Mahul and Vakola lake, two branches of Mithi River which were existed till 1976 in the map of Mumbai now disappeared on the cost of development.

Developing a new action plan for these holding rivers by developing new drain in city and suburbs, and installing new gates and pumping stations is under progress.

Management of local disposal and waste:

One effective and sustainable solution is to use efficient, cost effective and automated waste collection and processing technology specifically in metro cities is using effective piping system like shown below:

Figure 5.: Management of local disposal and waste

CAD software gives an integrated drainage design suite that facilitates engineers with powerful but easy to use system convert digital surveyed data into a detailed digital model on ground very quickly. The model can be used to design roadmaps, their alignments and design drainage system, long-sections and cross-sections with the help of CAD software. These ground models can be used for many other applications like land fill management, mineral extraction. Modified Rational Method used for Drainage designs and Foul drainage networks and can be tested for flood conditions using a Powerful Simulation module. Typical flood prevention methods and techniques with sustainable systems such as ingress pavements, paver blocks, parking’s and pedestrian walkways shall be used.

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Research undertaken to examine local governments’ capacity to manage recovery activities after Mumbai 26th July 2005 flood has shown that their overall performance in conclusion is, ”in-consistent and problematic”(Mehta Report 2006). The reason was lack of resources and poor planning (K B Singh et al. 2007); the difficulty local officials faced was lack of proper planning between pre and post disaster period; Resource dependence on the state government; lack of adequate numbers of professionalized staff; poor leadership and bureaucratic and legal constraints; and the lack of awareness among powerful citizen and business groups that overshadow local government officials efforts. The locally based reconstruction efforts, such as aid that does not meet the needs of the victims and the possibility to delegate all responsibility on local involvement. On the basis of a study of the recovery processes after the flood of 26 July 2005 in Mumbai, public opinion clearly indicates that government jurisdictions, especially local governments, have little guidance to direct their recovery activities.

Overcoming recovery implementation problems

Is it possible to overcome the ”problem” of local government capacity to manage the disaster recovery process? Researchers showed successful local recovery by communities at their own level. I studied 14 municipal Wards (Chembur, Malad, Borivali, Juhu, Goregaon,Vile Parle, Mahalaxmi, Kurla, Bandra, Kandivali, Tardeo, Sion, Matunga, Wadala) recovery processes and found that the speed and quality of recovery appeared . That was the function of three factors: (1) productive intergovernmental relationships, (2) effective competition for scarce resources, and (3) effective management of CBO decision making. Pre disaster planning was not there because nobody at authority level had imagined such terrific flood situation so post flood recovery was slow and unsatisfactory, which encouraged communities in these wards to organize processes for more timely and efficient action at their own level, clarify key recovery roles and responsibilities, identify and secure ¬nancing, and avoid repetition of such emergencies again in future. Many plans are dif¬cult to implement; they at least draw our attention to some important features of the recovery process. In particular, they highlight the importance of collective action involving multiple organizations-from both the public and private sectors-which cross governmental jurisdictions.

One promising ¬nding from the Emergency preparedness recovery plans comes from an assessment of the Mumbai’s roads, railways, drainage system, waste disposal system, municipality proactiveness in future. The citizens and local of¬cials improvised a successful ”adaptive strategy” that should implemented in the city directly for managing the recovery process.

Inter and intra-community network and the local recovery process

I found that the degree of integration among organizations that comprise the emergency response network prior to flood in Mumbai is a reliable predictor of readiness and response effectiveness in future. In this regard I conveyed the idea to the Disaster Research Center, ” the stronger and more well de¬ned the inter-organizational linkages are prior to an event, the ‘smoother’ subsequent rescue related activities will go”. CBO preparedness is synonymous to Emergency preparedness which requires response effectiveness, and strong structural inter-organizational relations.

The role of ”self-evident natural networks” and ”self-organization” in emergency preparedness is necessary and required very much. After 5 years Wards of Mumbai are very considerable in their capacity to respond to 26th July 2005 type emergencies. Emergency groups are now aware about recovery and redevelopment processes. This is a particularly important problem in the reconstruction and recovery phase, where competition over resources and CBO redevelopment goals often replaces the immediate post event spirit of cooperation.

Conceptual model of the local recovery process

The response phase of emergency management of flood like situations in Mumbai, some of the lessons learned in that context may be transferable to the recovery and reconstruction phases. A variety of studies suggesting that ”the capacity of citizens and organizations involved in recovery to adapt to changing conditions is higher and inter-organizational aid delivery systems are more capable of meeting the needs and capacities of disaster stricken citizens when intra-CBO and inter-governmental ties are strong”.

The importance of three key variables related to CBO problem-solving capacity: horizontal integration, vertical integration, and network centralization. Horizontal integration refers to relations among the individuals and organizations within a community. Thus, a CBO with a high degree of horizontal integration is characterized by a tightly knit social network with relatively equal power distributions and features frequent, sustained interactions and communications. Conversely, communities with a low degree of horizontal integration have a weakly knit social fabric. Vertical integration de-scribes a CBO’s relations with extra CBO systems. A CBO’s ties with larger political, social, and economic institutions may explain resource and information transfers and in¬‚uence the extent to which these institutions are dependent on their environment.

Network centralization refers to ”the power and control structure of the network, and whether network links and activities are organized around any particular one or small group of organizations”. Integration and centralization are important complementary measures. Integration is a measure of the extent to which organizations in a system are interconnected; centralization describes the extent to which horizontal and vertical cohesion is organized around particular focal points.

Horizontal and Vertical Integration and the Role of Focal Organizations

The potential relationships between horizontal and vertical integration and depicts four types of communities. The dominant recovery strategies that characterize each type of CBO. A type I CBO is ideally suited for an effective recovery effort. Communities of this type have well-developed ties to external resources and programs as well as viable horizontal networks that enable it to exert in¬‚uence over CBO recovery activities. Such type of communities rely on preexisting stores of social capacity and cohesion are formed in Mumbai they are showing ”self-organizing” behavior.

CBO types by degree of horizontal and vertical integration and disaster recovery strategies. Horizontal integration was high owing to the high degree of interest in and experience with political activities on the part of the citizen ship. The local government develops new partnerships and capabilities with its citizens. A cooperative association of households known as the Neighborhood Survival Network (NSN) was established to facilitate citizen self-help in future disasters. The high degree of horizontal integration played a vital role in aiding overlooked minority and low-income populations in rural mountain neighborhoods and in providing a basis for increasing vertical integration. The central Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) utilized the well-established ties developed by the NSN to assess needs and distribute assistance. Emergency experienced by the people of Mumbai that day stimulated local horizontal integration. Subsequently, local problem-solving capacity was expanded by vertical integration between federal relief efforts and local CBO organizations.

A type II CBO is an autonomous, relatively isolated CBO with few vertical ties. These types of communities are also formed in Mumbai they have viable horizontal social networks; they suffer from a lack of knowledge about and interaction with important external resources. Communities of this type will adopt a strategy of cooperation with potential resources providers, such as the state or federal government. In type II CBO they have a highly active network of, social clubs, and CBO groups. Owing to the high degree of horizontal integration, the CBO rapidly mobilized its limited resources to set up evacuation centers, provide food and safe drinking water, and establish communication channels to disseminate recovery information. But the scale of the disaster, coupled with the inexperience of local public officials with central governmental disaster aid programs. The city received assurances from FEMA that they would be helped ”every step of the way”. Corruption and bureaucracy is a part our system that had eaten up a large share of the relief package. Despite the public pleadings of civic leaders, governments’ aid was delayed for several weeks. Meanwhile, people discovered that the governments’ monies would cover only a small portion of the damages.

A type III CBO is in a classic state of dependency. They also involved in number in Mumbai lacking a viable horizontal network, it is less likely to take into account local needs, concerns, or values in the recovery effort. A type III CBO does have the advantage of strong vertical ties and channels to facilitate the delivery external aid. They have disproportionate share of disaster-related resources are allocated by the central government. These types of communities will adopt a dual strategy of recovery. Because horizontal cohesion is weak, local policy makers must engage in a strategy based on the cooptation of important constituencies within the CBO. However, owing to strong vertical linkages, these communities will be able to make claims on external resources. In Mumbai such communities are politically powerful communities can bypass normal relief channels and, in effect, coerce the central government into providing massive aid.

Overall horizontal integration in such communities is low. Its vertical ties, particularly with corporators and relief and emergency management agencies, are quite strong. As a consequence, these type of communities bypass many of the intergovernmental aid hurdles that other jurisdictions ¬nd so difficult. Indeed, owing to corporator’s intervention and the high level of government interest, the aid was mobilized with speed. The main point is to ensure that large amounts of government aid poured into the city and to placate affected groups in the communities. Despite the rapid government response, weak horizontal linkages slowed reconstruction efforts as private property owners and local officials squabbled over the details of CBO recovery.

A type IV type of CBO is in large number in Mumbai. They face signi¬cant obstacles in undertaking successful recovery efforts because it lacks access to external resources. Even if these vertical channels are activated, the lack of intra CBO integration severely limits the ability to man-age the aid process or to in¬‚uence the direction of recovery efforts. CBO leaders in this situation will ¬nd their strategic options limited to attempting to mediate con¬‚ict. They had a much lower capacity to cope with the demands of disaster recovery than the communities. Many nongovernmental organization operating in Mumbai after the disaster, with good administrative staff residing in the CBO.

A low degree of horizontal and vertical integration was that disaster recovery initiatives were, for the most part, organized outside of the CBO, with little input from the local people. A disaster recovery board was created to oversee recovery and reconstruction. Sometimes committee suffers from internal politics and social resistance.

The ability or inability of a CBO to activate horizontal and vertical networks to engage in reconstruction activities is likely related to the presence or absence of focal organizations in the CBO. The focal organizations may or may not governmental entities. Cooperative CBO groups are perfectly capable of taking on this role.

The importance of centralized, coordinating mechanisms in disaster response networks are significant. The key actors at the focal points of emergency response networks tend to play a critical role in the formation and maintenance of inter organizational relationships. It is not yet known precisely what role centralized personnel play in the recovery and reconstruction processes.


Studies of communities suffering through the aftermath of large-scale disasters consistently ¬nd that local government of¬cials play the critical role in shaping the path of recovery and reconstruction. Strategic choices made by local decision makers both before and after an event determine the success of both the immediate and long-term recovery processes. Communities effective as local decision makers increased and also their ability to act, reason to act, and knowledge of what to do. These ¬ndings highlight the importance of training local government of¬cials to cope with CBO needs in the disaster recovery phase has increased.

After this flood in Mumbai CBO leaders and local government of¬cials take steps before and after such event to enhance the likelihood of achieving successful recovery and reconstruction outcomes’ analysis.

1. Develop a recovery plan based on the strengths and weaknesses of your particular CBO. Local of¬cials are proactive in areas prone to such floods and developing a disaster recovery plans that incorporate speci¬c information about the strengths and weaknesses of the area. Although emergency response plans are mandated in most jurisdictions, strategic choices in the recovery phase are often made without prior planning. The recovery plan should incorporate with ”anticipation” and ”re-silience” . Anticipation attempts to avoid hypothesized hazards before the fact (planning); resilience is concerned with dealing with events after they have occurred (learning). The recovery plan should be both realistic and ¬‚exible.

2. Utilize preexisting areas organizations in the recovery process whenever possible.

In the recovery model, there are numerous local organizational and citizen capabilities that can be integrated into the recovery process. For instance, horizontal integration can involve organizational collaboration between CBO-based groups and local government. Furthermore, the experience documented by the limited research on disaster recovery shows that vertical integration can be more effective at meeting local needs when activities that strengthen horizontal integration before and during recovery are present. Local government need to know how to use the potentially relevant organizations and policy tools.

3. Designate a focal organization or create a recovery response team with representatives of the multiple organizations that will play a leadership role during the recovery process.

It is difficult to convince local governments to place a high priority on planning for low-probability of flood. Emergent recovery networks operate more effectively if they are managed by a central actor. The focal organization or the recovery team should not attempt to control resources or centralize decision making. Rather, their role will be to facilitate information processing for the other stakeholders in the process.

4. Develop and maintain intergovernmental relationships.

Successful recovery depends on the timely provision of resources from the state and cental governments. In large-scale disasters, a relatively large number of countries and cities are often competing for the aid and the attention of the same group of relief administrators. The ability to obtain the necessary resources without serious delays depends on the extent to which local of¬cials understand the intergovernmental relationships in which the CBO is embedded. Nearly all emergency preparedness plans and programmes prepared by various levels of governments have preexisting relationships with state and central agencies. These relationships will be the starting point for developing intergovernmental partnerships in times of emergency.

5. Learn from other parts of country experiences.

Although 26th July 2005 Mumbai flood was unique, there are lessons that can be learned by examining the successes and failures of other parts of country that have been visited by same type of emergency. Local government officials should develop relationships with their counterparts in communities that have been through disasters to share information about the recovery process.

Lesson learned

Unplanned urbanization should be stopped immediately especially when ecological balancing element mangroves are destructed.

Improving inadequate capacity of existing drainage system by new drainage designs and ensuring there will be no possibility of drainage congestion.

Traffic situation should also need modification. RTO should be


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