While engineers say improper road design, quick-fix solutions and “perpetual construction activities” are to blame for waterlogging issues, environmentalists have a different take.
According to green experts, covered-up and misused natural drains are one of the major contributors to waterlogging. With large portions of Delhi’s storm water drains covered or co-opted as sewage drains for unauthorised colonies and slums, the excess run-off during the rainy season has nowhere to go.
Spotting the faults
“Storm water drains are supposed to be the lifeline of the city in the monsoon. But, Delhi’s natural drainage system has been connected with its sewage network and in many stretches it has been covered,” said Manoj Misra, convenor of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan. As a result, the rain water collects on roads.
Road experts such as Dr. S. Velmurugan, senior scientist and Head of the Traffic Engineering and Safety Division at CSIR-CRRI, believe that the problem of drainage is further compounded through a problematic mix of faulty road engineering and “perpetual construction activities” going on in the Capital.
“Faulty construction such as lack of slopes to enable water to run off into drains has been noticed at various arterial stretches in Delhi such as Ashram and at points on the Ring Road. Material from construction ,being executed by multiple government agencies, end up clogging the drains that are available,” Dr. Velmurugan said.
Mr. Misra said that the government must revive the natural drainage system of the city if waterlogging is to be stopped.
“We have come to accept urban flooding as a regular feature in Delhi. The government must act now. The natural storm water drainage network is critical to preventing the annual flooding that we see,” said Mr. Misra.
According to Dr. Velmurugan, government agencies need to adopt proven methods to confront potholes.
“Potholes are formed on roads that have already undergone tremendous usage by a significant number of vehicles during Summer months, which are characterised by very high temperatures. The roads are weakened due to a combination of these factors, which must be addressed in a timely manner by utilising patch-working equipment,” Dr. Velmurugan said.