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Journalism of Courage

Why Bengaluru was flooded: Encroachment on drains and a vigorous monsoon

Bengaluru floods: After Rainbow Layout in Sarjapur and Outer Ring Road was flooded this week, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai visited the areas.

Bengaluru floodsMotorists and pedestrians wade through the flooded Outer Ring Road near Bellandur following heavy monsoon rains, in Bengaluru, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak)

In overnight rainfall on August 30, areas in Bengaluru like Sarjapur and Outer Ring Road were inundated, raising again the old questions about the reasons behind the flooding.

During the visit of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, it was found that encroachments on the stormwater drain were impeding the flow of rainwater, leading to its stagnation. Bommai has directed the authorities to remove the properties encroaching on the drains.

How much rain has Bengaluru received in August this year?

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that in August this year, Bengaluru received 370 mm of rainfall, falling only a little short of the all-time record of 387.1 mm of rainfall, which occurred in August 1998.

In comparison, last year, the IMD recorded 98.5 mm of rainfall in August in the city. Before that, in August 2020, 75.9 mm of rainfall was recorded; in 2019, 146.8 mm was recorded; and in 2018, 158.3 mm was recorded. The August of 2017 was very wet (351.8 mm), as was the August of 2011 (278.2 mm). However, 2016 (82.8 mm); 2015 (110 mm); 2014 (102.4 mm); 2013 (94.3 mm); and 2012 (189.1 mm) were drier. Since June 1 this year, the city has received 769 mm of rainfall, departing significantly from the average of 425 mm in this period.

Why did Rainbow Layout in Sarjapur and Outer Ring Road get flooded?

Even in light to moderate showers, Rainbow Drive Layout located in Sarjapur gets flooded. Rainbow Drive Layout was created 20 years ago near a drain that was used primarily for irrigation. Ram Prasad, the co-founder of Friends of Lakes, a citizens’ collective, said that over a period of time, the buildings which were constructed close to the layout raised their height, thereby making the area a “soup bowl”. He said that with the change in the topography of the area, a new drain design should be looked into.

Rainwater from the surrounding villages of Junnasandra and Halanayakanahalli is diverted into the Rainbow Drive Layout. From the layout, the water is directed to the stormwater drain on the Sarjapur main road. Residents have been demanding that provisions should be made so that the excess water from the surrounding villages directly enters the drain without being directed to the Rainbow Drive Layout.

How is the administration addressing flooding at Rainbow Drive Layout?

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Special Commissioner Trilok Chandra said that a few properties have come up on the drain, leading to the inundation of Rainbow Drive Layout. He said that legal procedures are being looked into, after which the properties encroaching on the drain would be demolished.

Meanwhile, the MLA of the Mahadevapura constituency, Aravind Limbavali, has ordered the construction of a drain that will carry rainwater from the Layout to the Sarjapur culvert. The drain will be constructed on a public-private model.


And why was the Outer Ring Road flooded?

In his visit to the Outer Ring Road on September 1, Chief Minister Bommai found that the major reason for the flooding of the area was the encroachment of stormwater drains. He has ordered the demolition of all properties constructed on the drains.

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During his inspection near DNA Apartments at Marathahalli, he noticed that the width of the drain had come down from 30 feet to 4 feet. BBMP has found 10 locations in this stretch where properties have encroached on the drains.

First published on: 02-09-2022 at 02:35:05 pm
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