The Economic Times
12,119.00-129.25
Stock Analysis, IPO, Mutual Funds, Bonds & More

Spread of waterbodies: Mumbai tops list of major cities

Maximum City Mumbai leads the pack of major Indian cities when it comes to spread of waterbodies. 35% of Mumbai are covered by wetlands or waterbodies, according to the Union ministry of environment's recently released atlas of wetlands.

, TNN|
Last Updated: Jun 20, 2011, 02.13 AM IST|Original: Jun 20, 2011, 02.13 AM IST
0Comments
CHENNAI: Maximum City Mumbai leads the pack of major Indian cities when it comes to spread of waterbodies. 35% of Mumbai are covered by wetlands or waterbodies, according to the Union ministry of environment's recently released atlas of wetlands. The waterbodies include both the inland waterbodies in the urban and suburban areas of Mumbai as well as the coastal waterbodies like the salt pans.

Second comes Kolkata with over 11% of its area covered by waterbodies; while Bangalore ranks third at 7%. Chennai ranks fourth among the cities. Only 5% (917 hectares) of the city's geographical area are covered by waterbodies.

Hundred years ago, over 35-40% of Chennai were covered by water bodies, according to M Ramalingam, the director for the institute of Remote sensing in Anna University, which took part in the mapping experiment. "During the mapping, we discovered many lakes, tanks and ponds, previously recorded to have disappeared," he said. And the capital city, Delhi, straggles at the last with just 0.72% of its area (20 hectares) covered by water.

In most cases, the mappers found lake and tank beds were taken for land and housing development. Said Sekhar Raghavan, the director for Rain Centre in Chennai, "I have seen houses on the Perungudi-Pallavaram road where the water from Pallikarnai marsh is just beside their compound wall. Today, the Pallikarnai marsh has also shrunk from 225 acres to a mere 75 acres." With shrunken waterbodies, the city faces problems in flood mitigation, sea water intrusion and low levels of ground water, to say the least. "But these are not problems that will take place in the distant future," said Raghavan. "It is already happening. Even a brief spell of rain inundates the city. Because of indiscriminate paving, there is no way for the water to percolate into the ground."

The third ranker, Bangalore, is no different either, says Raghavan. "Bangalore once used to be the city of lakes, Today, its water bodies are down to one-third of the earlier number. In fact, a local bus terminus and a government building there have been built over lake beds," he adds. While there is little possibility of recovering or conserving water bodies in the cities that are bursting at their seams, the conservation can at least be done in the suburban areas, points out activists.
Comments
Add Your Comments
Commenting feature is disabled in your country/region.

Other useful Links


Copyright © 2020 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service