The frequent floods in Chennai and the need for effective flood mitigation strategies. It raises important questions about the role of human errors and conventional wisdom in flood occurrences, and emphasizes the importance of learning from past extreme events. It also highlights the need to understand Chennai's hydrology and ecosystem, and suggests interventions to make the city flood resilient.
Unusually heavy rainfall years have become more frequent in recent decades in India, leading to more frequent floods in several parts of the country, including Chennai.
Chennai has experienced devastating floods in 2005, 2015, and 2023, with the flood in 2023 being considered the worst in the past 47 years.
The article raises questions about whether the floods are solely due to climate change or if human errors and blunders have also played a role.
It questions the effectiveness of conventional wisdom followed by the state in mitigating floods and droughts and emphasizes the need to learn from past extreme events.
The article also highlights the need to make Chennai flood resilient and to address the impact of coastal floods and rising seawater levels due to climate change.
It calls for decoding Chennai's urban and peri-urban hydrology, understanding its ecosystem, and implementing scientific interventions for flood mitigation, drought handling, and building climate-resilient strategies.
Chennai and adjoining districts have 3,588 irrigation tanks that are neglected and silted up.
These tanks were designed to have surplus water from upstream tanks feed into downstream tanks.
Neglect and siltation have led to low water storage and high run-off, causing damage to Chennai.
A study is needed to understand the water dynamics and map water bodies in the proposed Chennai Metropolitan Area.
Protection of water bodies from encroachments is crucial, including catchment areas, channels, flood plains, and bunds.
Restoration of water bodies to their original or increased capacity can help save excess water and reduce run-off.
Chennai has three rivers (Kosasthalaiyar, Cooum, and Adyar) and the Palar river that run through the city, making it geographically unique.
These rivers also have numerous tanks and the Buckingham canal, which cuts across all four rivers.
However, these major drainage systems are in bad shape due to encroachments and sludge deposits, leading to a loss of gravity and velocity.
Efforts have been made to restore these rivers and the Buckingham Canal, but conditions remain unsatisfactory.
Other macro and micro drains, as well as the Storm Water Drain network, also require year-long attention and maintenance.
Chennai's urban expansion is contributing to the worsening drainage situation.
Chennai city has experienced rapid urban expansion, which is irreversible and needs to be regulated.
The expansion has resulted in the loss of water bodies, marshlands, and wetlands.
The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority is planning to expand the CMA to cover more districts.
It is important for the authority to identify and protect ecological hotspots and "no development zones" in the Master Plan III.
By following appropriate measures, Chennai can prevent floods and ensure round-the-clock water supply even during drought years.
The recent resurgence in retail inflation in India and the risks posed by volatile food prices. It provides insights into the factors driving the increase in food prices, such as cereals and vegetables, and highlights the challenges policymakers face in controlling inflation.
Headline retail inflation in November rose to a three-month high of 5.55% year-on-year.
Food price gains measured by the Consumer Food Price Index increased by 209 basis points to 8.7%.
Cereals and vegetables were the main contributors to the surge in food prices.
Cereals saw double-digit inflation for the 15th straight month, with rice, wheat, and jowar experiencing sequential price gains.
Vegetable prices increased by almost 15 percentage points from October's rate, with tomato prices surging by 41% from the previous month.
Ginger and garlic registered inflation rates of over 100% for the seventh and third months, respectively.
Onion prices in India have seen a year-on-year inflation rate of 86% and a sequential inflation rate of 48%.
The government's ban on onion exports is unlikely to moderate prices due to a projected 25% shortfall in onion output during the key rabi season.
Potato prices have remained in deflationary territory, providing some relief.
Pulses and sugar are also areas of concern, with pulses experiencing over 20% inflation and sugar seeing an uptick in price gains to 6.55%.
Lower rainfall is expected to impact sugar production, adding to supply-related challenges.
The responsibility to control inflation falls on the government, as the RBI has chosen not to raise rates for now.
Failure to control inflation could lead to a decline in consumption and economic growth.