HYDERABAD: 100 words, that is the space allocated for urban flooding problems in Hyderabad by the state government in its 'State action plan on Climate Change for Telangana State'.
Speaking to Express, climate change researchers warn that extreme rainfall events and urban flooding are expected to become frequent and increasing resiliency of Hyderabad is need of the hour.
A study by BITS Pilani Hyderabad researchers warns that if state of affairs in Hyderabad remain the same, there might be a three-fold increase in run-off water from rains, 22 percent increase in flood depth of Musi river and around 51 percent of the city will be vulnerable to floods more severe than now.
This is based on a predicted extreme rainfall occurrence in the city of 266mm within 24 hours in the next 20 years as per climate change simulations.
The study also highlights that land cover plays an important role in occurences of such disasters. It mentions that the concretized area in Hyderabad increased from 55 percent in 1995 to 73 percent in 2016 . This is expected to increase to 80 percent in 2031.
Between 1995 to 2016 area under water bodies decreased from 16 sq.km. to 7 sq.km and area under vegetation decreased from 232sq.km to 117sq.km.
Dr Swathi Vemula, one of the authors of this study said, "High magnitude-short duration rains are a culprit behind urban flooding disasters in Hyderabad. With climate change, recurrence of such rains are expected frequently. Since 2016, we have had three flash flood incidents. The city is actually receiving high intensity rains earlier than our climate change predictions. Although it might seem impossible now but there is a possibility of the city receiving even 400-500mm rainfall in a span of 24 hours."
Prof K Srinivasa Raju of the Civil Engineering department in BITS Pilani Hyderabad said that this study was conducted under a project ‘Integrated Urban Flood Management in India: Technology-driven Solutions' funded by Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. He stressed that there is a need for development of more refined mathematical models to predict future climate change scenarios, which will help in better urban planning.
Dr NV Umamahesh of the Civil Engineering department, NIT Warangal said, "Extreme rainfall events are expected to become frequent. Urban flood mitigation measures of restoring existing lakes to increase their storage capacity must be taken up by the government immediately and it must at least now control encroachment of lakes in Hyderabad."