Urban Floods

I-FLOWS: Mumbai Flood Management System

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : IFLOWS

Mains level : Urban floods in India

Integrated Flood Warning System for Mumbai (I-FLOWS Mumbai), a state-of-the-art flood warning system has been developed for the city.

Practice question for mains:

Q. Urban floods in India are consequences of unplanned urbanization in India. Discuss with references to the frequent annual floods in Mumbai.

What is IFLOWS-Mumbai?

  • IFLOWS is a monitoring and flood warning system that will be able to relay alerts of possible flood-prone areas anywhere between six to 72 hours in advance.
  • The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has developed the system with in-house expertise and coordination with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
  • The system can provide all information regarding possible flood-prone areas, likely height the floodwater could attain location-wise problem areas across all 24 wards and calculate the vulnerability and risk of elements exposed to flood.
  • Mumbai is only the second city in the country after Chennai to get this system. Similar systems are being developed for Bengaluru and Kolkata.

How will it work?

  • The primary source for the system is the amount of rainfall, but with Mumbai being a coastal city, the system also factors in tidal waves and storm tides for its flood assessments.
  • The system has provisions to capture the urban drainage within the city and predict the areas of flooding.
  • The system comprises seven modules- Data Assimilation, Flood, Inundation, Vulnerability, Risk, Dissemination Module and Decision Support System.

Why was this system needed in Mumbai?

  • Mumbai, the financial capital of India, has been experiencing floods with increased periodicity.
  • Floods, especially the ones in 2005 and 2017, are etched in everyone’s memory.
  • Last year, post-monsoon and unseasonal rainfall as late as October, two tropical cyclones in the Arabian Sea had caught authorities off guard and left a trail of destruction.
  • The flood during 26th July 2005, when the city received a rainfall of 94 cm, a 100 year high in a span of 24 hours had paralyzed the city completely.
  • Urban flooding is common in the city from June to September, resulting in the crippling of traffic, railways and airlines.
  • As preparedness for floods before they occur, the system will help in warning the citizens so that they can be prepared in advance for flooding conditions.

Benefits

  • IFLOWS-Mumbai will enhance the resilience of the city by providing early warning for flooding, especially during high rainfall events and cyclones.
  • Using this, it will be possible to have an estimate of the flood inundation three days in advance, along with immediate weather updates.
  • The Union Minister said the system was “one of the most advanced” ones and will help the city, which has been experiencing floods with increasing periodicity.
  • The hi-tech system will predict floods before they occur, therefore enabling Mumbaikars to take due precautions in advance.
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