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Building Resilient Cities: Strategies to Mitigate Floods and Extreme Weather Disruptions

Relevance for UPSC – Prelims + Mains

Climate change has become an undeniable reality, leading to an increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, and heat waves. Aspiring civil servants preparing for the UPSC examination should be aware of the challenges posed by these climate impacts and the measures that can be taken to prevent disruptions caused by them. This article aims to provide insights and guidance on effective strategies to mitigate flood-related issues and other extreme weather events in urban areas.


Cities across the country are witnessing a distressing pattern of stranded citizens, flooded homes, cars floating through inundated streets, and emergency evacuations as a result of monsoon deluges. The recent deluge in northwestern India and Delhi serves as a stark reminder of the recurrent, lived experience of monsoons in cities like Mumbai, Chennai, and Bengaluru. These extreme weather events have become an unfortunate norm, causing significant disruptions and hardships for residents.

Ensuring Effective Drainage Systems

  •  Conducting regular audits of stormwater drains, tanks, and lakes to ensure their functionality and prevent blockages.
  • Integrated planning of drainage, water supply, and wastewater systems to manage intense rainfall and facilitate water treatment and recycling.
  • Increasing the capacity of drainage systems to accommodate changing rainfall patterns due to climate change.

Improving Infrastructure and Road Networks

  • Enhancing road construction and repair processes to prevent local flooding.
  • Coordinating infrastructure planning to avoid disruptions to existing drainage systems caused by flyovers, underpasses, and other projects.

Embracing Blue-Green-Grey Infrastructure

  • Conserving and protecting urban forests, wetlands, rivers, and lakes to mitigate flooding, water scarcity, and heat waves.
  • Encouraging the implementation of nature-based solutions, such as green roofs, urban forests, and wetlands, to improve climate adaptation and livability.

Reducing Vulnerability to Flooding

  • Utilizing advanced technology and data to map flood-prone areas and identify vulnerable communities.
  • Implementing measures to address the needs of those living in high-risk zones, including river banks, low-lying areas, and unstable slopes.
  • Strengthening community-based resilience and enhancing early warning systems to minimize the impact of extreme events.

Enhancing Early Warning and Evacuation Systems

  • Expanding forecasting, early warning, and evacuation systems to cover more cities and towns at risk.
  • Improving critical services such as cellphone networks, power supply, and water management to ensure resilience during extreme events.

Transforming Cities for Climate Adaptation

  • Prioritizing access to basic environmental services, including water, sanitation, drainage, and solid waste management for all urban residents.
  • Reducing collective vulnerability and enhancing public health through the preservation of natural ecosystems and controlled urban development.
  • Embracing the reality of climate change and actively adapting to its impacts through sustainable practices.

Conclusion: As climate change continues to pose significant challenges, it is crucial for UPSC aspirants and future civil servants to be well-informed about effective strategies for mitigating flood-related disruptions and other extreme weather events. By implementing the outlined measures, cities can enhance their resilience, protect communities, and ensure a sustainable future in the face of climate change.

Practice Question

Discuss the challenges and strategies associated with urban flood management in India. How can cities effectively mitigate the impacts of floods and ensure the resilience of their infrastructure and communities?

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