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Nature can solve Chennai floods

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Climate change is rising the chance of incidence of pure hazard occasions at totally different scales and magnitudes internationally. In India, Chennai rains and the ensuing floods are a current instance. While local weather change is the prime issue, environmental degradation exacerbates catastrophe danger, affecting the diploma of publicity of societies to floods, landslides, and different hazards. Conventional urban-flood-management approaches alone could fall brief as they don’t present the providers required to construct resilience to cope with the heightened threats. Therefore, there’s a have to discover hybrid options that harness the potential of pure techniques, together with the man-made or ‘grey’ infrastructure that’s historically adopted.

Today, cities worldwide are exploring choices to combine pure and constructed measures for flood administration. Such efforts embrace constructing permeable roads, inexperienced roofs, rain gardens, and artificially-constructed wetlands to imitate pure water cycles. These nature-based options (NBS) have emerged as an important instrument to spice up resilience and enhance catastrophe danger administration for sustainable adaptation.

In Bangkok, modern panorama options for constructing city resilience have been promoted by Landprocess and Porous City Network. The technique adopted by them has outfitted the town with public inexperienced area and nature-based options for rising its resilience, lowering flood danger, and enhancing the well-being of its residents. Another instance is the Sponge City idea launched in China. This initiative leverages the advantages of NBS for addressing surface-water flooding, assuaging peak run-off, and selling water conservation.

Also learn: Chennai, north Tamil Nadu to obtain extraordinarily heavy rainfall on Thursday

Concurrently, it additionally safeguards environmental high quality and neighborhood well being, and helps financial prosperity. The initiative has built-in “green” and “blue” areas equivalent to wetlands, with standard “grey” infrastructure equivalent to concrete obstacles. Similarly, in Gorakhpur, nature-based options have been used for stopping floods and adaptation. The initiative improved the flood-buffering capability of the town by selling climate-resilient built-in agriculture, and thru regulatory and incentive mechanisms within the peri-urban areas of the town.

The building of nature-based options is context-specific. Firstly, it needs to be knowledgeable by the extent of social and financial growth and the publicity to floods. Secondly, an space’s hydro-meteorological traits must be acknowledged earlier than integration into the constructed surroundings at totally different scales. Typically, flood safety techniques in cities ought to embrace structural and non-structural measures.

However, realising the total potential of nature-based options is a challeng. These strategies don’t seize the values related to NBS and, due to this fact, are unable to leverage sustainable finance. The ‘stated preference method’ is often used for assessing the advantages of NBS, because it evaluates non-marketed items, equivalent to erosion prevention. In this technique, the respondents are requested to worth the trade-offs of optimistic and unfavorable adjustments in ecosystem providers. Alternatively, the ‘damage cost avoided approach’ is utilized whereby advantages of avoidance of loss (equivalent to soil erosion prevention) are evaluated for funds. But, non-marketed items are uncared for on this technique.

However, recognising the varied advantages of NBS and their analysis can leverage financing from the personal sector and neighborhood for flood administration in cities. Hence, we’d like extra information, and strategies that present the true financial worth of NBS. Until then, authorities funding can assist nature-based options within the lower-income areas of a metropolis.

For occasion, catastrophe response budgets could possibly be reallocated for incorporating NBS in city planning, making it an economical safety measure. Finally, a well-planned city surroundings might leverage greater property values by linking floor-area ratio necessities to commitments from traders in NBS.

Cities like Chennai ought to undertake a framework for implementing nature-based options for long-term decision. A multi-stage course of that includes identification of the issue and alternative, adopted by choice, design, and implementation of NBS by stakeholder consultations, and at last, monitoring and analysis of the co-benefits, ought to be adopted. Such a framework can be a beneficial instrument to information pondering, and establish and realise the a number of advantages of implementing nature-based options.

(The author works on the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP), a research-based assume tank.)

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