Flood Alarm in Noida

A study done by Prof R. B. Singh and Prof S. Singh, Department of Geography, Delhi School of Economics in 2011 suggests rapid urbanization has increased the flood risk in Noida.
It is so hot and sultry today. I look up to skies for some mercy and shower of rains. But this made me feel guilty. The specter of death and destruction caused by incessant torrential rains in Uttarakhand almost made me seem like a criminal for praying for the skies to open up. On second thoughts isn’t it the collective greed of people of the land to be blamed for bringing onto themselves tragedy of this great proportion?!!
                                                                                       Photo courtesy: IBNLive

Flood is an unavoidable natural phenomenon but what had compounded the destruction to catastrophic proportions is man made. A region with a population of  little over 1 crore receives nearly 2.5 crore tourists. The major influx comes in the three months of summer. So to exploit every possible opportunity hotels, shops, dharamshalas, dhaabas and restaurants have come up along the roads, forest areas and riverbeds encroaching upon the space of river itself. So this year when rivers flooded under the pressure of 440% more than normal rains in Uttarakhand rivers unleashed their fury devastating whatever lied in their way.
                                                                                        Photo: Soumik Mukherjee

Meanwhile nearer home unprecedented rainfall caused overflowing of Hathnikund Barrage. The water was released in Delhi stretch of Yamuna which otherwise gets an overdose of city’s drains. This led to Yamuna overflowing way above its danger level mark of 204.83 meters. It clocked a record 207.25 meters highest since 1978 inundating the low-lying areas of Chilla Khadar, Usmanpur Pustha, Shastri Park, ISBT, Kashmere Gate, Bhajanpura, Garhi mandu and Yamuna Bazar in east Delhi and causing water-logging and traffic snarls elsewhere in Delhi and Noida.
                                                                                                                 Photo: FPJ

                                                                      

Incessant rainfall of 117.8 mm for four and a half hours resulted in an embarrassing flooding of Indira Gandhi International Airport at Delhi just two days after it was declared second best in the world in 25-40 million passenger category.
               Photo: Delhi Airport Flooded on June 17 due to Incessant Rainfall

The normal date of arrival of monsoon in Delhi is June 25 and covers the rest of the country by July 15. This time around monsoons came two weeks earlier and have already covered two-thirds of the landmass by June 21.In the past 40 years the capital has witnessed floods in 1967, 1971, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1988, 1995 and 1998.
                                                                   Graphics Courtesy: Hindustan Times

Now that Yamuna has receded below the danger mark it has sounded an alarm bell for Noida and adjacent areas. Noida forms the part of ‘doaab region’ – an area between two rivers – Yamuna and Hindon.  It is basically the extension of river floodplains and is prone to regular floods. Over the past two decades, Noida has become an increasingly urban society.
Noida Land Use Plan -1991, 2001 & Proposed 2021
Courtesy: Asian Geographer, Volume 28, Issue 2, 2011
A study on Rapid urbanization and induced flood risk in Noida, India done by Prof R. B. Singh and Prof S. Singh, Department of Geography, Delhi School of Economics in 2011 published in Asian Geographer states human activities driven by socio-economic transformation are a major driver for increasing the flood risk.
                                   Decadal Change in Land Use Category in Noida
                             Courtesy: Asian Geographer, Volume 28, Issue 2, 2011

The study outlines the moderate and major flood affected zones using simulation modeling in the 2001 and 2021 scenarios. The simulation for 2021 suggests entire urban and industrial centers of Noida would be inundated under 6.8 meters of flood water if the future rainfall intensity is more than 2.26 cm per hour.
Areas severely affected by flood (Zone 3): Identified as sector 5, 8, 12, 31, 14 western part, 14A eastern part, 15A western part, eastern part of BHEL colony, some parts of 27, 19, 34, 35(Janta Flats) and 37 sector near Dadri road, Sector 58, Harijan basti, Baraula, Anganpur village, harola. These areas are  also characterized by high coefficients of run off (more than 7) and have undergone rapid land use changes.
Areas moderately affected by flood (Zone 2): Some parts of sector 19, 22, 37, 35, Soharkha village, Bahlolpur, sector 80 phase2, sector 83, 92 green forest area, 4, Yaqubpur and Lakhnoli village.
Photo: Sector-wise Mapping of Flood Prone Areas in Noida
Courtesy: Asian Geographer, Volume 28, Issue 2, 2011
There is large scale of encroachments in sector 135 and 151 and other areas according to TOI reports. Around 100 developers are operating illegally in 4,000 acres of agricultural land along the Hindon floodplains. Roads and buildings constructed in flood-prone areas are exposed to flood risks of inundation and erosion. It is estimated that Noida cannot sustain rainfall intensity more than 1.885 cm per hour. Information about stream flow and how it is affected by land use can help in reducing the current and future vulnerability to the floods.
                                       Demolitions in the past always have been temporary

Activist Manoj Misra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan and others  have been vocal about their concerns of ground warer recharge and reducing water table in Noida, surface water discharge leading to flooding. Angry Environmentalist and experts are now happy about the fact that the recent flooding of Yamuna is helping the ecology of Delhi and NCR.
National Green Tribunal, on a plea by Akash Vashishtha a UP-based Environmentalist, in its order on May 20 directed UP, Haryana and Delhi government to clear all concrete illegal structures from notified no-development zones in Yamuna and Hindon floodplains. Official machinery is getting ready to free about 124 hectares of floodplains area by demolishing over 300 illegal farmhouses and buildings. History says these structures spring up as fast as they are razed.

Source: PTI, IANS, News Agencies,  R. B. Singh & S. Singh (2011): Rapid urbanization and induced flood risk in Noida, India, Asian Geographer, 28:2, 147-169,

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