UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing (04-11-2022)

UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing

Questions

Q1. ‘Live with water, build with nature’ needs to be our philosophy for promoting sustainable development and avoiding disasters. Discuss in context of frequent floods and droughts in the country. (250 words)  15 marks

Q2. Haphazard urbanization and the unsustainable pattern of urban development are increasing the vulnerability of cities to urban floods. In light of this statement, discuss the causes, impact and mitigation strategies of urban floods in Indian cities. (250 words) 15 marks


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Model Solutions

Q1. ‘Live with water, build with nature’ needs to be our philosophy for promoting sustainable development and avoiding disasters. Discuss in context of frequent floods and droughts in the country. (250 words) 15 marks

Model Structure
Introduction:

  • India is extremely vulnerable to water related disasters which is evident from frequent floods and droughts in the country.
  • The UN Commission on Sustainable development has accepted disaster management as an integral part of sustainable development strategy. Increasing vulnerability of India to water related disasters are a consequence of mismanagement of water.

Main Body

  • The philosophy can help in flood management:
    • Vulnerability mapping for flood disaster: Identifying flood-prone (like Chennai, regions in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh) for creating room for rivers to flow.
      • Risk mapping of the areas of the city should be done to assess the vulnerability by using GIS technology.
    • Storage of excess rainwater: Low-risk areas like playgrounds and agricultural fields can be earmarked to store excess rainwater with drains built up to divert water to these storage units.
    • Increasing water carrying capacity: Pre-monsoon desilting should be undertaken to increase the drainage capacity of rivers and drains so that they can flow without obstruction.
      • UNDP, after the 2018 Kerala floods recommended removal of encroachments and obstructions for creating more room for the river to flow.
    • Sustainable construction and remodel the drainage system: Decades old drainage systems in India need to be improved.
      • Technology like satellite imagery through Bhuvan and National Urban Information System (NUIS) to map natural drains.
    • Lesser reliance on artificial channels: Artificial channels and levees can be done away with for uninterrupted river flow, especially, in case of major rivers like Yamuna, Ganga etc.
  • The philosophy can help in addressing drought related disasters:
    • Channelizing water from water surplus to water-scarce regions: Creating channels for diversion of water from surplus areas to deficit areas.
      • Like Mumbai (flood-prone areas) to deficit areas like Solapur, Latur etc. could help to strike a balance between the demand and supply of water.
    • Replenishment of groundwater aquifers: Improved techniques for recharging ground water can help in raising the water table especially in drought prone areas.
      • Also, trees are known to have good water holding capacity. They should be planted in catchment areas.
    • Shift in agricultural practices: There is a need for crop-diversification from water-guzzling crops to crops that require limited moisture.
      • Sprinklers and drip irrigation could help in conserving water.
    • Drought forecasting and real time drought management should be undertaken to mitigate water scarcity.

Conclusion:

  • A comprehensive strategy for water management and development keeping in mind the natural resource base of the area is important for sustainable development.
  • Convergence of various programmes, initiatives and technologies like National Water Mission, Integrated Drought Management Programme, Watershed management, river interlinking programme, cloud seeding etc. can help attain the goals of water-management and water self-sufficiency.

Q2. Haphazard urbanization and the unsustainable pattern of urban development are increasing the vulnerability of cities to urban floods. In light of this statement, discuss the causes, impact and mitigation strategies of urban floods in Indian cities. (250 words) 15 marks

Model Structure
Introduction:

  • Unplanned development of urban areas, destruction of wetlands, concretization causing reduction in water absorption capacity, poor water management infrastructure and high population density make urban areas extremely vulnerable to urban floods.
  • India has seen urban floods in cities like Chennai (2015) Hyderabad (2020), Mumbai (2021).

Main Body

  • Causes of Urban flood:

Natural causes

Anthropogenic causes

Meteorological phenomenon – Natural

phenomena like storms, Cyclones such as

Nisharga, Tauktae making landfalls in coastal areas induce heavy rainfall leading to floods.

Deforestation and climate change: Cutting of trees to expand cities, not only put pressure on the environment but also lead to the inability of the city to prevent flooding. It leads to soil erosion and more frequent floods like the Srinagar flood of 2014.


Heavy rainfall during monsoons- Erratic monsoon, monsoon bursts lead to a tremendous amount of rain in a short period leading to the situation of floods. For example, in 2005 Mumbai witnessed 37 inches of rainfall in only 24 hours.

Encroachment of water bodies– Increasing migration to the cities and reduced availability of land lead to more encroachment of water

bodies. For instance, the Chennai flood of 2015.


Haphazard development plan- Such as a weak drainage system leading to its congestion caused by the poorly planned construction of bridges, roads, which hampers the flow of water that results in floods.


Unregulated tourism- Excessive and unregulated tourism leads to stress on water bodies, such as choking of drainage through waste, plastic, etc.

  • Impact of Urban flood:
    • Impacts on human life: There is loss of life and physical injury. Also, it increases psychological stress and mosquito-borne diseases as secondary impacts as seen during July 2021 floods in Kolhapur, Maharashtra.
    • Impacts on the economy: Urban floods devastate vital infrastructure like roads, schools also, there is disruption of utility supplies and industrial production. For instance, Mumbai lost $ 10million as a direct loss during its 2005 floods.
    • Impacts on transport and communication: Floods increase traffic congestion and disruption of rail and communication services thus creating inconvenience among citizens.
  • Mitigation strategies of Urban flood:
    • Early warning system: Early dissemination of flood warnings must be adopted in these tools like predictive precipitation modeling could be used in urban areas.
    • Rainwater harvesting: Mandatory rainwater harvesting will serve the twin purpose of lowering the risk of floods runoff and increasing groundwater levels.
    • Conservation of urban wetland: Urban wetland like lakes, pond help in reducing the stormwater by capturing and channelizing it.
    • Development of climate-resilient infrastructure: Innovative practices from China’s sponge cities and Netherlands' efficient flood water diversion system could be adopted in India's urban area.
    • Sustainable urban development: Policymakers must adopt a sustainable urban development plan which should include a compulsory flood mitigation plan, restriction on encroachment in natural drainage areas to mitigate urban floods.

Conclusion:

  • To mitigate the effects of flooding due to deluges, urban planning needs to consider the hydro-geology of cities.
  • It is important to ensure that construction, development, and land occupation do not take place in a way that reduces the area of wetlands as per National Disaster Management Guidelines on the urban flood.
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