ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Ignore Hydrology at Your Peril

Chennai floods show the vulnerabilities that arise from the neglect of urban planning.

In the second week of November, flood-marooned people in Chennai had an unlikely Good Samaritan. The cab service provider, Ola. As the city struggled to come to terms with its highest rainfall in 10 years, the cab company pressed in boats from an aquatic adventure outfit and secured the services of professional rowers and fishworkers to ferry those stranded in waist-deep—sometimes even chest-deep—floodwaters. Some boats also supplied food and water free of cost.

The sight may have taken old residents of the city to far less calamitous times when boats plied on the Adyar River. It may have evoked memories of the river’s channels—and other waterbodies. Ironically, Chennai has lost most—if not all—of the waterbodies of old. Media reports quoting the National Institute of Disaster Management pointed out that Chennai had about 650 waterbodies, including lakes, ponds and storage tanks till about two decades ago; today it has less than 30. In the recent floods, the city paid a heavy price for this loss.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Or

To gain instant access to this article (download).


Pay
INR 59

(Readers in India)


Pay
$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.