In A bid to prevent the kind of flooding witnessed at the start of this year’s monsoon season, the storm water drains (SWD) department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now undergoing a major revamp.
Discarding the previous system of assigning designated SWD engineers to each ward, the civic body has now created a new map of catchment areas in Mumbai and has formed teams of engineers dedicated to each spot.
So far, the civic body has identified 122 catchment areas in Mumbai, of which 46 are in the island city, 47 in the western suburbs and 29 in the eastern suburbs.
“More than 70 per cent of these catchment areas cut across wards. We felt the current SWD management system, based on the 24 administrative wards, could not solve problems of flooding holistically. An engineer’s jurisdiction is restricted to his own ward, but flooding may have its origin in one ward and at the same time affect another ward. This system intends to bring in more accountability as engineers can’t absolve themselves of their duty now,” additional municipal commissioner SVR Srinivas said.
The overhaul in the civic department, he added, will only involve a rearrangement of resources as per the budget. “We are planning it in such a way that we can work within the assigned budget and the current number of employees,” Srinivas said.
In the new system, engineers will be assigned catchment areas from ridge to valley, that is, top to bottom. These engineers will also be responsible for ensuring that pre-monsoon desilting of drains is carried out as per the required standards.
“Earlier, the central SWD agency only looked after the desilting of major nallahs, but now we will make sure even minor and roadside drains that are desilted by ward-level engineers are looked after by the central agency through the new system,” said L S Vhatkar, SWD chief engineer.
Srinivas added, “The earlier system lacked a scientific approach. We are now trying to rectify this by studying the contour maps to anticipate possible flooding spots. The systemic change will first come into effect in the island city in January, since the