The Greater Chennai Corporation has identified waterlogging in 57 locations during the rain on Thursday after the onset of the northeast monsoon, according to Corporation Commissioner G. Prakash.
“Excess rain and local blockages led to waterlogging in some areas on Thursday from early morning till noon. The number of vulnerable points has been reduced from 851 in 2014 to 19 in 2019 because of the construction of stormwater drains in the Cooum and Adyar basins using funding from the World Bank. Minor setbacks were reported in some areas on Thursday,” he said.
“There was no waterlogging in areas with critical infrastructure on Thursday. Water drained in five minutes in such areas. We have to develop infrastructure in the Kosasthalaiyar and Kovalam basins. The entire city will have an integrated stormwater drain network in two and a half years. Currently, the city has 2,500 km of drains,” Mr. Prakash said.
Pointing to rain gauge records of excess rainfall in areas such as Parry’s Corner, Mylapore, Nungambakkam and Kodambakkam, he said the rainfall was more than 22 cm on Thursday, the highest in a single day in October after 1969.
“We are planning to desilt drains throughout the year. A team of five officials, headed by the Assistant Engineer, in the 200 wards has been formed to prevent inundation. Desilting work is set to be completed shortly. There will be a permanent solution to the flooding issue,” Mr. Prakash said.
Stressing the need for resilient infrastructure and a standard operating procedure for management of stormwater drains, Mr. Prakash said the civic body had been increasing the number of special equipment for desilting drains and canals.
“We have imported 36 equipment to desilt canals, such as Otteri Nullah and Captain Cotton Canal,” he said.
Explaining the issues caused by illegal sewage connections in stormwater drains, Mr. Prakash said over 90,000 buildings had been letting sewage in stormwater drains in an illegal manner. “We are plugging them. Over 26,000 buildings have sewage connections. Of the 210 tanks in the city, we will complete restoration of 33 in 10 days. More waterbodies will be restored. We will get the capacity to store 1 tmc ft of water by restoring all waterbodies,” the Corporation Commissioner said.
On Friday, workers were found replacing pipes in NSC Bose Road to prevent waterlogging near the Madras High Court. Some shops were flooded in the area on Thursday. The wide footpaths developed along the road were dug up on Friday to replace old pipes to drain stormwater.
“The Corporation should have done proper work during the construction of the footpaths a few years ago. They have not designed them properly to prevent silt from accumulating in the pipes. Desilting has not been done,” a shopkeeper said.