In a recent study, the World Resources Institute (WRI) identified five vacant sites on the banks of the Mithi River between Powai and Marol, which could be converted into urban space, to bring a solution to flood mitigation in Mumbai. The WRI is ready to submit the research report to the BMC, said WRI officials.
The 17-km long Mithi river originates from the Powai lake and flows downstream, where it meets the Arabian Sea at Mahim Creek. The river is notorious for being one of the primary contributors to heavy flooding in low-lying areas west of the city during monsoons. It passes through Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), Andheri, Kalina, Dharavi and Mahim.
WRI is a consulting agency working with the BMC in dealing with flood and climate issues in Mumbai.
Dr Kartiki Nair, WRI’s program manager, said, “Currently, the administration is implementing traditional flood mitigation measures such as silting or building a barrier on the banks. of the river. These methods often conflict with each other. Therefore, we can make good use of the land available on the banks of the river in a way that can be a protected zone for the accumulation of flood waters.”
The report written by Nair, along with Sahil Khanekar from WRI, said: “On the course of the river, below the Powai Garden, the river passes through a common place, not inhabited, but flowing. Instead, the river can be allowed to swell during heavy rains… to use storm surges on banks that can flood. Such banks, if natural, have the potential to improve river access, biodiversity and habitat development and river quality in addition to managing water.”
Khanekar said, “Only 4-5 days of heavy rains remain during the monsoon season, so these lands can be used as community gardens and open spaces for rest of the year. The main idea is to facilitate the bank of the river Mithi… it will also improve the standard of living of the people.”
Last June, the BMC had allotted 3 acres on the banks of the Mithi in Marol to set up an urban forest. Government officials said this land was identified in collaboration with WRI.
According to an official, the BMC is planting more than 130 types of trees in the Marol land, which will not only improve air quality but also reduce flooding during monsoons. “Forests are natural rainwaters, because they allow water to spread from the roots and prevent runoff. So if more such opportunities are developed near the river, it means that the problems of flooding can be solved to a large extent,” said an official.
“Near the adjacent land, we are building a water tank, not only to store rainwater but also waste water and prevent it from flowing into the river,” he added. of the office.