Flash floods in city to become 25% more intense by 2050: McKinsey India study

(Left to right) Mumbai First's Narinder Nayar, Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, and European Union Ambassador to India Ugo Astuto at the conference.  

By 2050, Mumbai will see a 25% increase in intensity of flash floods and a 0.5-metre rise in sea level. Also, two to three million people living within 1 km of the coastline will be affected, according to a study by McKinsey India.

The findings were presented on the first day of a conference titled Climate Crisis: Action for Tropical Coastal Cities. Mumbai became the 16th city to sign Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCOM) on Thursday.

Indian and European coastal cities will share experiences on climate change adaptation planning and implementation at the two-day conference. On the agenda are a series of issues from urban flooding and risk management in coastal cities to the ecological impact that climate change is set to have on human health and marine life. The conference will also look at addressing group-specific vulnerabilities of climate change such as the debilitating impact it can have on livelihoods of the urban poor, women and youth.

Speaking at the conference, Dr. Shirish Sankhe, senior partner of McKinsey India, compared the condition of coastal cities including Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, Florida and Mumbai. He said, “We expect that by 2050 in Mumbai, two to three million people living within 1 km of coastline will be affected by floods, a 0.5-metre rise in sea level, a 1.5-times increase in probability of 100 kmph winds, 25% increase in flash floods’ intensity. Right now, average flood depth is 0.46 m, by 2050, it will be 0.8 m. Flooded area over 0.05 m is 46% right now. It will go up to 60% by 2050. Please start incorporating climate risk in your decision making,” he said.

McKinsey had released its global report in January based on which McKinsey India did its own analysis, building upon it. It modelled a 40-year flash flood event to assess the impact on Mumbai city and its suburbs.

At the conference, Mumbai signed the GCOM commitment, an international coalition of city leaders committed to raising the global ambition for climate action. It became the 16th Indian city to have joined the initiative.

Speaking at the event, European Union Ambassador to India, Ugo Astuto said, “The fight against climate change is an existential issue. We need to act collaterally for the sake of future generations. We need to scale up global ambition when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. It is still possible to contain damage if we act now. That is why EU presented an ambitious vision and mission. We want carbon neutral Europe by 2050.”

He further said, “In Mumbai, we have seen destructive flooding last year, in 2017 and in 2005. It is not just about India. It’s a fact that coastal areas are at risk. The EU in 2013 prepared a strategy for climate change; 1,700 cities in Europe have already committed to enhancing their resilience. In India, so far 15 cities have joined. All metro projects have to go through a check for resilience and carbon footprint. Sustainable transportation is very important,” said Mr. Astuto.

The conference included a panel of consul generals of the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden sharing their experiences of climate change and what can be done to mitigate it.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 11:27:08 AM |

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