Pics by Rons Bantwal
Daijiworld Media Network - Mumbai
Mumbai, Jun 17 (DNA): Will the ghost of dry 2009 be exorcised? It’s been five days since the rains started in the city, but already the quantity has exceeded that of the entire period of June last year. Since Saturday, Colaba has received 278 mm rainfall, while Santacruz has recorded 284 mm. The total for June last at these meteorological observation centres was 264mm and 218 mm, respectively.
But despite the heavy rains, the city has not been witness to flooding. That is because raining has not coincided with high tides.
However, this hasn’t meant a complete absence of inconvenience. On Wednesday, citizens woke up to a downpour, but also to water-logging which occurred in 25 low-lying areas. All three suburban train services suffered 10-20 minute delays (due to poor visibility), and planes took off an hour late.
The good news is that rainfall is occurring at the right places from the point of view of a potable-water-starved city — the reservoirs are getting filled up. In the last 48 hours, the Vihar reservoir has received over 360 mm rainfall (Vihar was the first reservoir to dry up and had remained below the drawable level for months); Bhatsa, 65 mm; Upper Vaitarna, 49 mm; Tansa, 44 mm; Tulsi, 32 mm; and Modak Sagar, 24 mm. The overall catchment volume increased by 3,942 million litres — more than 28 hours of water supply to the city.
But civic officials say they are nonetheless worried about flooding. Between 8.30pm, Tuesday, and 8.30am, Wednesday - 12 hours — Colaba recorded 78.6 mm rainfall and Santacruz 95.0 mm. Since a 4.7m tide was expected at 3.21pm, and the rains had not yet subsided, concern was writ large on the faces of municipal officials. The deputy chief minister’s office even met to take stock of the situation. When tidal waves are above 4.5 m, rainwater discharge into the sea becomes impossible since seawater reaches the same level as land water.
However, the risk of that happening was averted as the rain intensity decreased, reducing to 21 mm in three hours in Colaba, and 8.8 mm in the same period in Santacruz.
Officials from the disaster management cell said the city is most vulnerable to flooding two hours before and after high tides. On Wednesday, almost providentially, the skies darkened once more as the tide receded.
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