Torrential rain in Mumbai through Tuesday night that continued on Wednesday caused unprecedented flooding in several parts especially South Mumbai, throwing normal life out of gear. In several pockets, rainwater took over 12 hours to recede. This is the second time since August 5 when South Mumbai has been hit severely by rain, disrupting normal life and affecting road and rail network.
Island City areas like Mohammed Ali Road, Gol Deol, Grant Road, Navjeevan Society, Mumbai Central, Byculla, Worli Seaface, Chinchpokli, Parel, Hindmata, Dadar TT, Kings Circle and Sion witnessed flooding for over 10 hours. Several houses in low-lying areas remained submerged for hours.
BEST cut electricity supply in Chinchpokli area to avoid short-circuits. “Chinchpokli area usually does not see waterlogging and even if there is, it recedes in half an hour. But the situation was different this time. Intensity of rain was very severe and till Wednesday morning water level was up to two feet,” Shiv Sena corporator Ramakant Rahate said.
Grant Road areas like Nana Chowk and Gilder Lane too were submerged. “Our staff opened manholes and drainage chambers for rainwater to recede faster. But rain intensity was high and as rainfall occurred after a month’s gap, a lot of floating material had entered the drain
clogging water flow,” said Prashant Gaikwad, Assistant Municipal Commissioner, D Ward (Malabar Hill, Grant Road).
Gaikwad said South Mumbai’s drains are old and augmentation is on, still they have a capacity to drain 25 mm water per hour. “If there is more than 100 mm rainfall in an hour there will be waterlogging in these areas,” said Gaikwad.
Water also entered Mumbai Central railway station premises. Officials admitted they have never seen such flooding in Mumbai Central. “After 11 pm rain intensity increased and in 3-4 hours the area received about 300 mm rainfall. The drain carrying water to Britannia pumping station was full of water and as there was high tide at night water started coming back from the drains. Mumbai Central has not seen this kind of flooding in the last about 20 years,” said Makarand Dagadkhair, Assistant Municipal Commissioner, E ward (Byculla). He denied ongoing Metro 3 work blocked drains.
In Parel, water entered Damodar Hall, damaging seats and other materials. However, BMC officials said they will check if there was waterlogging in the hall. Local Shiv Sena corporator Urmila Panchal said there was waterlogging in areas that have never been flooded in years. Water also entered BDD Chawls at Delisle Road and Worli area. A retaining wall collapsed at Police Colony in Worli. No injuries were reported.
Areas like Bandra, Andheri, Jogeshwari, Goregaon, Malad and Dahisar witnessed waterlogging. Chincholi fire station recorded the highest 327.4 mm rainfall following Malad fire station at 302.51 mm in the last 24 hours.
In Goregaon water entered houses and chawls. Vishal Rathod, a resident of 17th Road, Siddharth Nagar, Goregaon West, posted a video of water entering his house.
Local BJP corporator Harsh Patel said the problem happened due to heavy rainfall and encroachment along Shastri Nagar nullah. “The widening of nullah and removal of encroachment was started but stopped due to Covid-19. The nullah is proposed to be widened about 15 metres and is currently about 2 metres,” said Patel.
Concretisation of open spaces
The amount of rainfall that falls in Mumbai has remained unchanged over the last 80 years. The old drainage system coupled with the then Mumbai's abundant open spaces allowed the percolation of water and its faster dispersal. The gradual concretisation of open spaces has meant that the percolation of water does not happen the way it used to. Environmentalists believe shrinking open spaces and increasing constructions for big ticket infrastructure projects are causing the unnatural flooding that pockets of the city are now witnessing.
Rising water level in Walbhut river damaged the water pipeline and Oshiwara bridge, which has been shut to traffic. Local BJP corporator Sandeep Patel said during the night, water level in the river rose to bridge level and later it started flowing over the bridge. “The flow of water was very intense. It broke the water pipeline and also damaged the surface of the bridge. BMC staff have completed repair work on the pipeline but bridge repair will take time. Work will be taken up once rain stops,” said Patel. Oshiwara bridge is located at the junction of S V Road and Ram Mandir. Waterlogging was also reported outside Oberoi Mall, Shastri Nagar and Milan Subway.
Highest rainfall of 300 mm was recorded in L ward (Kurla). After the level of Mithi River reached danger mark, BMC evacuated 50 residents of Kranti Nagar and moved them to a safer location late Tuesday night. In the morning they went back to their homes after water level receded. Waterlogging was reported from Bail Bazar, Kurla Depot to Sheetal Cinema, Shell Colony, Chembur, Mankhurd Subway; however, no untoward incidents were reported.
Overnight rain in Navi Mumbai left several areas in the satellite city inundated. Konkan Bhavan, in Belapur, the divisional office of the five districts of Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg reported ankle-deep water.
Heavy to very heavy rain was recorded in Navi Mumbai in 24 hours ending at 8:30 am on Wednesday. Belapur-Uran road, Sanpada-APMC road in Turbhe, NMMT bus depot and Konkan Bhavan in Belapur were heavily flooded. Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) received nine waterlogging complaints.
Belapur received 278.40 mm rainfall, Nerul received 288.50 mm, which fall in extremely heavy rain category in 24 hours i.e. betwenn8:30 am on Tuesday and 8:30 am on Wednesday. Vashi, Khoparkhairne and Airoli received very heavy rain at 186.30 mm, 182.30 mm, and 178.80 mm rain respectively. Sanpada received 185.1 mm and Ghansoli 136.9mm. Exceptionally heavy rain i.e. over 300 mm in 24 hours was recorded at Diwale (304 mm), Nerul (301.7 mm) and Panvel (306.80 mm).
With inputs from Sanjana Bhalerao
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