The importance of natural drainage systems cannot be overemphasised. On Tuesday night, many areas in the city were submerged in rainwater. In contrast, a few others were incredibly free of flooding.

Streets near the Triplicane temple tank and the Sholinganallur-Medavakkam stretch of the ECR Link Road, where a wetland is located, are cases in point. In these areas, flood waters flowed into tanks and water bodies.

A quick survey revealed that many other areas also escaped inundation due to their proximity to water bodies. A good number of them did not have stormwater drains and these water bodies had done the ‘wringing job’ for them.

“On Wednesday, areas around the Dandeeswaram tank and the Velachery lake were not water-logged. Many of the roads there lack stormwater drains; the water bodies had facilitated runoffs,” said M. A. Murthy, Corporation councillor of the area.

S. Santhanam, former member, chief urban planner, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority, said in many layouts in the suburbs, where stormwater drains were accorded the least priority, water bodies served the purpose. For this reason alone, their role in stormwater control could not be ignored and their deepening was important, he said

There are 3,000 water bodies in the Chennai Metropolitan Area.

“Hasthinapuram near Chromepet had a few lakes earlier. In the absence of stormwater drains, these lakes prevented inundation. With some of these lakes having vanished due to encroachments, the situation has changed,” Mr. Santhanam said.

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