Case Study of Maharashtra Floods

The bulk of densely populated urban centers in developing countries, such as Djalarta, Dhaka, Bangok, and Bombay, are especially vulnerable to urban flooding (Chatterjee, 2010). According to Ranger et al. (2011), one of the primary causes of floods is increasing urbanization, which causes changes in terrain as a result of the creation of urban facilities as well as changes in transportation networks. Other researchers speculate that this could be due to the coastal regions receiving a lot of rain from the monsoons (Gupta, 2007; Bhagat, Guha & Chattopadhyay, 2006). Structural flood reduction techniques might be challenging to enforce owing to scarcity of resources and space. Also, non-structural risk reduction strategies like improved flood warning systems alongside flood proofing are deemed to be more efficient with regards to mitigation strategies, for instance, in Mumbai (Chatterjee, 2010). This study therefore contrasts the effects of urban infrastructure, both at a small and large scale, on worsening and mitigating the devastating flood in Mumbai on July 26, 2005.

Mumbai, India (2005 Maharashtra Floods)

Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay with geographical coordinates of 188N-19.208N, 728E-738E is the capital of Maharashtra state of India (Gupta, 2007). The town is a financial and commercial hub of India generating approximately 5% of the country’s GDP and brigs about approximately 25% of India’s tax revenues (Gupta, 2007). Therefore, any catastrophe in the town has immense effects on the international economy. On 26th July 2005, the city of Mumbai experienced an unexpected large storm flooded with 944mm of rain which led to large-scale flooding of many low-lying regions. The flooding disaster saw the causality of 419 individuals and roughly 100, 000 buildings got damaged (Ranger et al., 2017).

Effects of urban infrastructure on Maharashtra floods

The severe flood in Mumbai invoked a debate regarding the development and planning of the city in the subsequent years. Recent report indicates that the city is losing its significance in the country and also in Maharashtra (Bhagat, Guha & Chattopadhyay, 2006). Comparatively, the growth rate of Mumbai has declined threefold to well below 2% in a span of ten years (Bhagat, Guha & Chattopadhyay, 2006). This concern in economic downfall in Mumbai is attributed to the central government and the state’s failure to invest in the city. Some scholars argue the city’s ill-fated event of 26th July was as a result of unplanned urban development, reclamation of low lying areas, the municipal city’s failure in cleaning drainages along with sewers, the lobby of builders encroaching mangrove hills, irresponsible city residents, and lack of disaster preparedness (Ranger et al., 2011). An inquiry of the Mumbai floods carried out by the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIODM) revealed lack of awareness and gross negligence on by the relevant bodies required to handle tragedies in accordance with the comprehensive design of the city (Bhagat, Guha & Chattopadhyay, 2006). Therefore, the unprecedented rains, the haphazard growth alongside failure of prior warning system led to the macabre.

Poor urban planning

Over the last decades, shifts in population from disadvantaged rural economies, globalization pressures, and relocation of industries in large cities has led to huge challenges in developing nations (Hallegatte et al., 2010). These challenges include the expansion of urban spaces and the establishment of poorly planned informal settlement as the only option for new town dwellers. The consequence not only elevates poverty but also poses future climatic issues owing to the loss of land necessary for water cycle. Further it brings about environmental issues like soil erosion leading to silting up of drainage channels and ultimately enhancing the resident’s vulnerability to haphazard conditions. In addition to the prevalent cases of poverty, informal economy, and inefficient urban management systems, informal settlements and their residents have become highly susceptible to natural calamities.

Garbage collection issue

Improper disposal of garbage stands out as a major flooding issue. In as much as Mumbai is phenomenally productive regarding garbage control, the city is only equipped with three landfills- at Mulund, Deonar, and Gorai. Based on Di Baldassarre et al (2017)’s report, these landfills collectively receive eight thousand ton of garbage on a daily basis. Also, Mumbai is divided into twenty-four wards, out of which only seven wards conduct dry and wet garbage. Seeing as the average dumping ground lasting five years, the chief dumping site, Deonar, has just 3-4 years to be operational yet no substitute waste disposal area has been identified. However, some cities have rolled out plans on the exclusion of the wet and dry garbage by means of initiatives like Advanced Locality Management (ALM) (Di Baldassarre et al, 2017).

Impact of Mitigation techniques

Mitigation techniques employed in Mumbai reveals motifs of divide involving various areas within urban center. Public resources will probably be utilized for wide-ranging hazard mitigation plans which help global clients and individuals of the formal economic sector (Chatterjee, 2010; Ranger et al., 2011). Mitigation of floods in Mumbai is largely concerned with development in road transport, advancement of buffer areas for commercial activities and enhancement of neighboring regions. Pertaining to trouble spots and residential areas such as slums, state establishments only seized partial liability of instantaneous relief following an event (Chatterjee, 2010). Apart from not receiving any rewards from utilization of public resources, this segment of urban populace does not actually get management consultancies and recommendations from metropolitan development and planning organizations to change hazard risk reduction methods of developing models (Chatterjee, 2010). At the same time, slums occupants rather get the costs of risk minimization approaches implemented by conventional agencies (Chatterjee, 2010). For instance, slum residents are displaced and uprooted to create room for the structural alterations made by urban regulators to enhance the infrastructural amenities for formal community. Local socioeconomic factors and International operations impact risk mitigation at both informal as well as formal levels nonetheless the informal and formal sectors continue to be markedly distinct from one another. This splitting up is partially due to the fact that not much has been carried out to link the informal and formal elements in large cities such as Mumbai and determine an equilibrium among the distinct yet counterproductive areas contemporaneous in urban areas.


A growing city such as Mumbai utilizes its water resources and land including the possessions at its disposal. The city being restricted by creeks, sea, and hills is confronted with very large population pressures on land. On the downside, these pressures have damaged the city’s natural drainage and natural drainages. The qualitative reports presented in this study shows that the planning routines are not implemented in the development and expansion of the city. Thus, the destructive nature of the floods that befell the city could have been mitigated had the existing land contours been factored in while implementing the development strategies.


Bhagat, R. B., Guha, M., & Chattopadhyay, A. (2006). Mumbai after 26/7 deluge: issues and concerns in urban planning. Population and Environment, 27(4), 337-349.

Butsch, C., Kraas, F., Namperumal, S., & Peters, G. (2016). Risk governance in the megacity Mumbai/India–a complex adaptive system perspective. Habitat International, 54(10), 0e111.

Chatterjee, M. (2010). Slum dwellers response to flooding events in the megacities of India. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 15(4), 337-353.

Di Baldassarre, G., Martinez, F., Kalantari, Z., & Viglione, A. (2017). Drought and flood in the Anthropocene: feedback mechanisms in reservoir operation. Earth System Dynamics, 8(1), 225.

Gupta, K. (2007). Urban flood resilience planning and management and lessons for the future: a case study of Mumbai, India. Urban Water Journal, 4(3), 183-194.

Hallegatte, S., Henriet, F., Patwardhan, A., Narayanan, K., Ghosh, S., Karmakar, S., & Herweijer, C. (2010). Flood risks, climate change impacts and adaptation benefits in Mumbai: an initial assessment of socio-economic consequences of present and climate change induced flood risks and of possible adaptation options. OECD Environment Working Papers, (27), 0_1.

Ranger, N., Hallegatte, S., Bhattacharya, S., Bachu, M., Priya, S., Dhore, K., & Herweijer, C. (2011). An assessment of the potential impact of climate change on flood risk in Mumbai. Climatic change, 104(1), 139-167.

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