After Bengaluru, is Mangaluru next in line for a super deluge?

After Bengaluru, is Mangaluru next in line for a super deluge?

Bengaluru is not the only city that is suffering from rainwater flooding anomaly.

Bengaluru: Bengaluru is not the only city that is suffering from rainwater flooding anomaly. There are other cities getting ready to follow, and the most probable one in the next couple of years is the coastal city of Mangaluru. Signs are already appearing on the horizon which indicates the city's natural drain system is changing rapidly due to uncontrolled land reclamation for urbanisation.

Historically, Bangalore developed due to its favourable microclimate, water availability, and other city advantages. Urbanisation without planning resulted in chaotic growth, which altered the surrounding ecology, hydrology, and ecosystem. But the same conditions have developed for Mangaluru city in recent years as well.

Over 1600 acres of prime water bodies all alongside the National Highways 75 and 66 in their approach to Mangaluru city have been reclaimed for construction purposes as a result many of them are on the verge of death. This unregulated filling up of wetlands has also blocked the underground water veins preventing movement of water from excess area to deficit areas resulting in underground water doing the disappearing act in the last few years.

The wetlands have been described as the funnels on the surface of the earth connecting the underground water sources . They suck water in the rainy season, feed the water veins and in the summer time and they maintain the water level on the surface. These wonderful and beneficial wetlands are now being choked with tonnes of soil dumped by real estate lobby in mindless land reclamation in Mangalore.

In coastal areas wetlands are manifested as estuaries, marshes, bogs, ponds and paddy fields which are abundant in and around coastal cities like Mangalore, Udupi, Kundapur, Bhatkal, Honnavar and Karwar this region has been rated at the class 'A' waterbodies in the international charter of wetlands, but the real estate lobby here does not care, nor does the state government, say the greens.

These water bodies have been neglected and are fast disappearing. Most of them have given way to the construction of urban dwellings, agricultural operations, and natural siltation. The siltation is alarming and has been attributed to deforestation around wetlands. In the Dakshina Kannada district alone, over 540 ponds and tanks are on the brink of being destroyed by ``wilful closures'' and mindless urbanisation. India has no law to bring wetlands under declaration of land norms, which is why the real estate sharks have a free run in reclaiming land from the wetlands.

According to the sources in the minor irrigation department the coastal districts of Karnataka has more than 18 world-class wetlands right from the North Chandragiri river to Karwar while Mangaluru has two of the most sensitive wetlands which are ranked 29th among the world's endangered wetlands.

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