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Urbanisation made Vasai-Virar more vulnerable to floods: study

The price we pay: Due to drainage issues, several parts of Vasai-Virar were submerged for a week after heavy rains in July last year.

The price we pay: Due to drainage issues, several parts of Vasai-Virar were submerged for a week after heavy rains in July last year.   | Photo Credit:

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Rampant urbanisation in the Vasai-Virar belt has made it more prone to floods over the last decade, a study conducted by students of Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture (KRVIA) shows. The study highlighted that between 2004 and 2019 the share of urban areas went up from 12% to 20% in the 380 sq.km. region.

The study showed that the increased concretisation resulted in cutting-off of natural streams originating from the hills on the east and flowing towards the coast. These streams functioned as a natural source of drainage to run-off water during monsoons. The team of 12 students, all pursuing their master’s, studied the area over four months and analysed its land-use pattern and water systems.

In July 2018, large parts of Vasai and Virar were submerged for a week following heavy rains. The city was cut-off from other parts of the State and Gujarat as there was severe waterlogging on the tracks. Railway officials said there was a drainage issue as water levels did not recede even after the rain stopped.

The study also noted that due to rampant urbanisation, groundwater levels in the region had depleted severely, resulting in an ingress of salt water from the sea. As a result, agricultural communities, traditionally dependent on wells, have been getting non-potable water for agricultural purposes.

The study was part of ‘Building Resilient Urban Communities’ (BReUCom), a joint studio project between KRVIA and seven other institutes in India and abroad. Other student teams belonging to first and second year master’s programmes have developed similar studies on various communities and spaces in the city such as Diva, Mumbra, informal settlements along Gazdarbandh nullah and the Kalbadevi-Bora Bazaar precinct. The studies were showcased at KRVIA as part of a symposium on urban resilience.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 10:32:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/urbanisation-made-vasai-virar-more-vulnerable-to-floods-study/article30199877.ece

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