Bracing up for monsoon, BMC extends drain outfalls, keeps dewatering pumps ready

Learning from the flooding in many parts of south Mumbai abutting the coastal road project area last year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is extending existing storm water drain outfalls for free flow of rainwater, besides keeping the high-power dewatering pumps ready.

For the coastal road project, the BMC has so far reclaimed 88 hectares along the western coast, pushing the existing coastline to about 100-meters towards the sea.

Last year, areas like Priyadarshini Park, Tata Garden, Breach Candy and Worli witnessed flooding during the monsoon. While residents had alleged that flooding was caused by the ongoing coastal road work, the BMC had denied the allegations.

“We are extending all existing storm water drain outfalls falling in the coastal road project area. Wherever extension of drains is not completed before monsoon, we will keep high-power dewatering pumps in case there is flooding,” said a senior official from the BMC.

V S Nighot, chief engineer, coastal road department, confirmed the development but refused to share further details.

According to the officials, there are at least 13 major existing storm water drains outfalls passing through the 10.58-km coastal road stretch, from Princess Street Flyover, Marine Drive to Worli end of Bandra-Worli sea link. About 17 small minor drain pipelines and peripheral drains will also be maintained.

The BMC will also keep 15 major dewatering pumps on standby in case of heavy rains. Officials said these pumps will be kept at Breach Candy, Tata Garden and Worli. Besides, a 24-hr control room will be set up to deal with any flooding-related problem.

The BMC officials said they are trying to finish the pre-monsoon work before the first week of June. “All precautions will be taken to ensure no flooding takes place,” said an official.

Last week, Guardian Minister Aaditya Thackeray held a review meeting with the coastal road department officials and assistant municipal commissioners of three wards under whose jurisdiction the work is on. He instructed that all existing storm water drain outfalls and open drains in the coastal road project areas should be cleared so that flooding does not takes place.

Last year, on August 5 and September 23, south Mumbai, which usually does not see waterlogging, saw flooding in many areas. Breach Candy, Pedder Road, Worli Seaface and Worli Naka areas remained flooded for hours. Residents and activists blamed the coastal road work that “blocked drains and caused flooding”.

Environmentalist Debi Goenka had written to the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority, alleging that reclamation carried out for the coastal road had blocked drains in that area. He had sought measures to stop flooding along the coastal road coastline.

Earlier, a consultant, appointed for peer review of a detailed project report (DPR) for the coastal road, had warned of flooding in south Mumbai. In 2016, the peer review consultant, Frischmann Prabhu Pvt Ltd, had said the flood risk assessment was not done for the coastal road.

The report had said, “There is a danger that flood risk problems could be increased if existing drainage routes are compromised by the reclamation. This could occur either by the introduction of undersized structures or failures to identify existing drainage routes. It is recommended that DPR should include information related to existing surface water drainage systems in the form of a flood risk assessment.”

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