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Mumbai gears up to host 2nd G20 disaster risk reduction working group meeting

NEW DELHI : As the monsoon season approaches, Mumbai is taking proactive measures to tackle heavy rains and waterlogging, showcasing its tech-based solutions to delegates attending the 2nd Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group (DRRWG) meeting of G20 countries. 

The three-day event, scheduled from May 23-25, aims to discuss key priority areas such as early warning systems, resilient infrastructure, national and international response, building back better, and nature-based solutions.

The decision to host the DRRWG meeting in Mumbai, a city familiar with heavy rainfall challenges, highlights India’s commitment to disaster risk reduction. The catastrophic floods in July 2005 serve as a constant reminder of the need to bolster preparedness and implement effective measures. In response, the Madhavrao Chitale Fact Finding Committee was formed by the Government of Maharashtra, which recommended several actions, including the establishment of pumping stations in vulnerable areas managed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

In Mumbai, high tides prevent rainwater from flowing into the sea, causing it to inundate the city’s streets. To combat this, the BMC has constructed pumping stations and underground water storage tanks to expedite the drainage process. Presently, six operational pumping stations, located at Haji Ali, Lovegrove (Worli), Cleveland Bunder (Worli Village), Britannia (Reay Road), Irla (Juhu), and Gazadhar bandh (Santacruz), utilize powerful water pumps to swiftly pump rainwater into the sea. 

Additionally, smaller pumping stations are strategically placed throughout Mumbai. Equipped with a total of 43 computerized pumps, each with a capacity to lift 6,000 liters of water per second, the collective water lifting capacity reaches an impressive 258,000 liters per second.

The BMC has also constructed an underground storage tank in the Parel area, known as ‘Late Pramod Mahajan Park,’ specifically designed to address waterlogging issues in the Hindmata region. During heavy downpours, the tank can store up to 20 million liters of water, significantly mitigating the impact of monsoon floods.

Another key concern addressed by the BMC is the Mithi River, which often contributes to flooding in suburban areas due to blockages caused by garbage and encroachments along its banks. To combat this problem, the BMC initiated the ‘Mithi River Water Quality Improvement’ project in Powai area in September 2022. This comprehensive project aims to enhance the river’s flow and reduce the risk of flooding.

The upcoming DRRWG meeting provides an ideal platform for G20 delegates to witness Mumbai’s commendable efforts in tackling heavy rainfall and waterlogging. The control room at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation will showcase the city’s comprehensive approach to addressing these challenges, emphasizing the importance of disaster risk reduction.

The DRRWG initiative is an integral part of India’s G20 Presidency, aligning with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. The framework emphasizes the substantial reduction of disaster risk and advocates for shared responsibilities among Member-States, local governments, and the private sector.

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