Recent showers highlight need for flood mitigation measures in Coimbatore

Updated - September 05, 2022 07:05 pm IST

Published - September 05, 2022 06:57 pm IST

A car wading through the flooded Sivananda Colony Road underpass in Coimbatore recently.

A car wading through the flooded Sivananda Colony Road underpass in Coimbatore recently. | Photo Credit: file photo

Recent rains in Coimbatore, specially during the evening and night, showed that the city is least prepared to withstand flooding caused by sudden downpour.

Hardly an hour of rain stalled the city for hours and motorists had to wade through flooded arterial roads and busy lanes alike. Flooding of underpasses added to traffic congestion on the other roads.

The city is said to have received more than the average rainfall it used to receive during the South-West Monsoon. With sudden downpour bringing the city to a standstill, activists and residents urge the government to address the structural issues and to chalk out long-term, sustainable solutions to avoid flooding.

Environmentalist K. Mohanraj said the lowest point in any city is a water body. In Coimbatore, it is River Noyyal and the tanks in its system. Rainwater flows automatically towards the tanks. In many areas, city planning has been made without understanding the landscape.

He added that  rainwater harvesting has to be made mandatory to get layout approvals. This will avoid flooding on the roads when the intensity of rainfall is low. The government can use technologies like contour mapping, and GIS for topographical analysis while planning for larger infrastructure projects.

Consumer activist K. Kathirmathiyon said though the district administration and the corporation have taken steps for flood mitigation, those are not adequate. Whenever the underpasses are flooded, the entire traffic has to be diverted to the other roads. That creates huge traffic congestion across the city.

Instead of knee-jerk and short-term solutions, the authorities have to devise long-term measures, said Mr. Kathirmathiyon and suggested building flyovers at the Langa Corner and Kikkani underpasses to avoid traffic congestion.

He said the stormwater drains have to be desilted properly and the corporation shall keep a vigil on the water flow areas. The civic body has to remove the encroachments in the water channels like the Sanganoor canal to ensure the free flow of water.

Mr. Mohanraj also added that the water stagnation also creates health hazards, as the dengue causing Aedes aegypti mosquito breeds in freshwater. In ponds and lakes, because of the presence of frogs and dragonflies, mosquito breeding is naturally under control.

Speaking to The Hindu, Collector, G.S. Sameeran said, the sudden downpour is a major challenge. The civic body has already set in place high-capacity suction motors and generators to flush out waters from the underpasses, along with mobile suction tankers.

The Corporation has desilted various channels at a length of 18.62 km across the city. This includes Raja Vaikal, Sethuma Vaikal, and drains in Good shed road and Trichy road, said the Collector, adding, “officials are examining the feasibility of using horizontal armed moving machines inside the drains to expedite the desilting works.”

To drain out the water from the Avinashi Road underpass, the Corporation has planned to install a 100 HP motor with a dedicated 110 kVA transformer with the approval of Tangedco, he said.

Corporation Deputy Commissioner M. Sharmila says, in many areas, underground drainage works are at the final stage, and the works will be completed by March 2023. The civic body will consider the recommendations given by the expert committee on disaster management and start implementing measures accordingly, at the earliest.

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