Jun 5, 2008

Juhu flooding during high tide

Amitabh Bachchan, and his Juhu neighbours, had better watch out this monsoon. The superstar’s neighbourhood went under knee-deep water on a bright and sunny Thursday afternoon. The cause was the year’s highest high tide, which reached 4.86 metres in the afternoon, and the water did not stay for more than half-an-hour. But it was enough to send a shiver down every Juhu resident’s spine. “What is going to happen when a few hundred millimetres of rain coincide with a high tide this monsoon?’’ local corporator Adolf D’Souza asked, echoing thousands of his voters.

The Juhu flooding also proved how hollow the BMC’s claim — of the city’s nullahs being wide and deep enough to take 350 mm-400 mm of daily rainfall — was. And it again brought to the fore how politics might drown Mumbai again this year. The flooding occurred because the sluice gates near Chandan cinema were removed so that the slums close to the creek would not flood.

Juhu is below sea level and we seem headed for big trouble this monsoon. What will make matters worse is the fact that all the high tides this monsoon are during the day. The BMC, however, does not feel the issue is very serious. Storm-water drains chief engineer S Korlekar said: “Juhu is below sea level and flooding is an annual occurrence.’’ The BMC has planned a pumping station on the Irla Nala but it will be commissioned only next year. “We can assure residents that the water will recede fast,’’ Korlekar said.

Juhu is below sea level? Global warming and rising sea levels should be on the minds of property buyers.