Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

How to prevent disruptions by flood and extreme weather events


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: Vulnerabilities of urban India to climate change , Mitigation efforts

What is the news?

  • The recent floods and extreme weather events in north-western India and Delhi highlight the urgent need for cities across the country to prepare for and adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change.

Central Idea

  • As global and local warming intensify, the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as floods, water scarcity, and heatwaves will grow exponentially. Our current governance, planning, and infrastructure systems are ill-equipped to handle these rapid changes, necessitating proactive measures to mitigate future disruption

Challenges in urban areas

  • Inadequate Water, Sanitation, and Drainage Infrastructure: Urban areas face challenges in providing basic services such as water supply, sanitation, drainage, and wastewater management. The existing infrastructure is often insufficient and struggles to deliver these services effectively.
  • Concentration of Population and Economic Output: Cities concentrate a large portion of the population and economic activities, which increases their vulnerability to climate impacts. The dense built-up areas, coupled with poor infrastructure, exacerbate the effects of extreme weather events like flooding, water scarcity, and heatwaves.
  • Irrational Land Use and Planning Systems: The irrational land use practices and planning systems worsen the challenges faced by cities. Encroachments, illegal constructions, and improper zoning further amplify the vulnerability of urban areas to climate impacts.
  • Vulnerability of Informal Settlements and Slums: Millions of people are forced to live in informal settlements and slums with inadequate infrastructure and services. These areas are highly vulnerable to climate impacts, leading to increased risks and hardships for the residents.
  • Impacts on Sensitive Regions: Cities located in sensitive regions along coastlines, rivers, and hills face even more severe impacts due to higher exposure and locational vulnerability. They are more prone to flooding, landslides, and other extreme events.

How to prevent disruptions by flood and extreme weather events?

  • Ensuring Effective Drainage Systems:
  • Urban civic bodies must conduct regular audits ahead of the monsoon season to ensure stormwater drains, tanks, and lakes are functional and free from obstructions.
  • Integrating drainage, water supply, and wastewater systems in the medium term can store intense rainfall, recharge groundwater, and provide better services, ultimately limiting waterborne diseases.
  • Improving Road Infrastructure:
  • Rapid urban expansion has outpaced planned drainage systems, resulting in roads functioning as makeshift stormwater drains.
  • Addressing local flooding requires the improvement of road construction and repair practices. Infrastructure planning and coordination should account for the impact of new constructions, such as flyovers, underpasses, and metro lines, on existing drainage systems to prevent post-flooding traffic bottlenecks.
  • Implementing Blue-Green-Grey Infrastructure:
  • Adopting blue-green-grey infrastructure, such as green roofs, urban forests, and wetlands, can mitigate flooding, water scarcity, and heatwaves.
  • Learning from initiatives like China’s sponge cities and the effective flood defense mechanism provided by East Kolkata’s wetlands, Indian cities should prioritize nature-based solutions.
  • Reducing Flood Vulnerability:
  • Leveraging high-resolution satellite and topographical data, India can map all its cities and identify flood-prone areas. The focus should then shift to addressing the vulnerability of communities living in these areas, such as those along riverbanks, low-lying regions, and unstable slopes.
  • Building community-based resilience and enhancing evacuation strategies will be crucial in minimizing the dislocation of millions during extreme events.
  • Strengthening Early Warning Systems:
  • Building on the progress made in improving forecasting, early warning, and evacuation systems in large cities like Mumbai and Surat, India must extend these measures to other at-risk areas.
  • Additionally, critical services such as cellphone, power, and water supply should be fortified to ensure their resilience and rapid recovery post-disaster

Way forward

  • Integrated Climate Action Plans: Develop comprehensive climate action plans involving multiple stakeholders to address floods and extreme weather events.
  • Upgrading Infrastructure: Invest in resilient infrastructure, including improved drainage systems, upgraded road infrastructure, and integration of green infrastructure to manage stormwater and reduce flood risks.
  • Robust Early Warning Systems: Strengthen early warning systems by improving forecasting capabilities, enhancing communication channels, and conducting regular drills and awareness campaigns.
  • Community Engagement and Resilience: Empower local communities, educate residents about flood risks, promote preparedness, and encourage sustainable practices such as rainwater harvesting and waste management.
  • Policy and Regulatory Frameworks: Develop and enforce robust policy and regulatory frameworks that integrate climate considerations to prevent encroachments and ensure resilient urban development.
  • Climate Financing: Explore climate financing mechanisms and partnerships to secure funding for climate adaptation projects, leveraging national and international funds, private sector entities, and climate finance initiatives.
  • Capacity Building and Knowledge Exchange: Enhance capacity through training programs and knowledge exchange platforms for urban planners, officials, and community leaders to accelerate the adoption of effective flood and extreme weather mitigation strategies


  • Protecting and preparing Indian cities for the future impacts of climate change is imperative. It is crucial to acknowledge that climate change is a harsh reality requiring collective adaptation efforts, regardless of socio-economic status. By implementing these measures, Indian cities can enhance their climate resilience and safeguard the well-being of their inhabitants

Also read:

The lesson from a monsoon-battered North India: Time to be prepared


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