Flood prediction system launched in Mumbai

Published : June 15, 2020 15:21 IST

People walk through flood waters after heavy torrential rains paralysed Mumbai, on July27, 2005. Photo: AFP

As Mumbai braces itself for the annual monsoons, a new flood warning system has been installed in the city. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology, and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan launched the integrated flood warning System called IFLOWS-Mumbai on June 12. It has been developed jointly by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

Mumbai has been prone to floods since the early 2000s. Every monsoon, the city witnesses several days of deluge. Public transport is crippled, several die, people lose homes and a sizable environmental damage takes place on days of heavy rainfall. According to the official statement, the warning system will be able to relay alerts of possible flood-prone areas anywhere between six to 72 hours in advance.

Thackeray said the system will be a “big boon” to the city. The government said the new system would provide information on the height or the level the water could reach and location-wise flood prone areas across all 24 wards in the city. While the primary source for the system is the amount of rainfall the city gets, IFLOW also has the provision to capture data from the urban drainage system.

The system will factor in tidal waves and storm tides for flood assessments. The system comprises seven modules: Data Assimilation, Flood, Inundation, Vulnerability, Risk, Dissemination Module and Decision Support System.

On account of the changing weather patterns in Mumbai, meteorological predictions have not been quick enough to evacuate or warn people if a flood-like situation develops. The IFLOW technology is expected to provide enough time for the city in such a situation. Mumbai saw its worst flood in July 2005, when it recorded an unprecedented 944 mm of rainfall in 24 hours. About 1,000 people lost their lives. Subsequently, each monsoon has brought at least one day of severe rainfall. In August 2017 and September 2019, the city was once again paralysed as it happened in 2005. Citizen groups have been demanding advanced technology even though the city has a doppler radar that identifies cloud build up.