Sunday, May 29, 2005

Can Bangalore buck up before monsoon?

Can Bangalore buck up before monsoon?

Deccan Herald

In an attempt to help Bangalore cope with waterlogging and other problems that follow heavy rainfall, experts try to offer some workable solutions.

If the monsoons are board exams, Friday’s rainstorm was just a mock test. And Bangalore failed miserably.

With only a fortnight left for the ‘mains’, it is time for authorities to really buck up their preparation. Timely tutorials are just what experts are offering, promising quick fixes to failures the city has been witness to in the last one week.

Bangalore’s biggest bane - potholes - is not a problem, assures Vinobha Isaac, transport expert at Wilber and Smith. Water clogging is, he points out. According to him, wherever there is water clogging, an immediate draining system should be made, channelising water to a deeper water body. (Too simple? But then, all tricky problems come with easy answers). Mr Isaac, identifying areas around BEML gate (near HAL) and Old Madras Road, suggests the authorities should study these areas and install drainage points before the monsoon sets in.

Meanwhile, civil engineer Dr V S Vishwanath blames city’s unpreparedness to three causes - outdated drains, careless desilting and encroachment. Suggesting a comprehensive drainage development plan, Dr Vishwanatha said priority should be given to drain widening and regular maintenance. “Also, desilting should have been done a month in advance, but the BMP has taken up this work only now. They should at least take care to deposit the silt somewhere else,” he says.

Those with pavement parks should have no reason to complain, for they are contributors to the mess, Dr Vishwanatha adds. “Because of these pavement encroachments by residents, the entire rainwater is forced to flow on the roads instead of the drains,” he explains.

Rainwater harvesting, till now a concept limited to construction of homes and offices, should be applied on roads too, says rainwater expert S Vishwanath.

“Roads should be aligned in such a way that the water can be collected and harvested in open parks and spaces, and lakes can be taken as retention points,” he elaborates, adding that the water should be collected at high-level areas and not allowed to flow into the valleys.

Recommending urban storm water management, Mr Vishwanath says people should be penalised for diverting excess water flow from their houses into the SWD. “In countries like Germany, residents are charged for allowing rainwater into SWD.

A similar rule should be applied here, so that people are encouraged to adopt rainwater harvesting techniques at home,” he says. “The SWD should not be shared with sewage lines,” adds Dr Vishwanatha.


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