The Mumbai floods

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While events in New Orleans now make the Maharashtra politicians and bureaucrats look ‘less bad’, as The Economist noted in a recent article, After the deluge, ecologically irresponsible development contributed to the floods that brought Mumbai to a standstill for almost a week in late July. The monsoon is an annual event. This year it was particularly intense (944mm [37 inches] falling on parts of the city in one day), but rather than becoming better equipped to deal with the deluge, new development has actually served to weaken the city’s defences. ‘Large areas of protective mangrove had been razed’ in one notorious example, to make way for a golf course’ notes The Economist. ‘Developers have built on wetlands, clogging natural drainage channels. River banks have been reclaimed and become slums.’ There is little doubt that this year’s floods are a reflection of the goverment’s failure to maintain Mumbai’s ageing infrastructure, particularly the storm-drains and sewers, but even if they had been upgraded, the water still has to go somewhere!