Bengaluru urgently requires comprehensive stormwater drainage master plan to tackle urban flooding: Report

May 31, 2023

Bengaluru needs a comprehensive stormwater drainage master plan and corrective actions to address urban flooding, which entails the installation of around 658 km of new primary and secondary drains at an estimated capital expenditure (CAPEX) of ₹2,800 crore ($350 million), according to Knight Frank India.

This CAPEX also includes the cost of remodeling the existing stormwater infrastructure.

At present, the city has 842 km of primary and secondary drains; and with the growing population in Bengaluru, changing topography has impacted the drainage system.

Data shows that the city’s population has more than doubled in the past two decades, and it is likely to reach 18 million by 2021, making it necessary for the real estate and infrastructure to be adequately developed to be able to absorb the population influx.

The land use dynamics of the city have also changed significantly, with the share of the built-up area increasing from 37.4 per cent in 2002 to 93.3 per cent in 2020.

According to the report, the stormwater drainage system has come under severe stress due to rapid and unplanned development. Primarily, the interconnection between water bodies such as lakes and stormwater drains has been severely affected, causing recurrent floods in the event of heavy rainfall, noted the report.

The real estate sector has a multiplier effect on Bengaluru’s economy. On par with the national average, the real sector contributes an estimated 7 per cent to the city’s economic growth, while overall, its GDP increased from $16 billion in FY05 to $97 billion in FY23.

During FY23, BBMP is estimated to have collected ₹3,107 crore ($388 million) as revenue from property tax collection showcasing that real estate is one of the key contributors to the city’s improving economic profile.

The real estate development comprises about 213 million square feet of Grade A office space, which has generated nearly 1.7 million white-collar jobs, predominantly in the IT/ITES sector, since 2008. Each of these jobs has the capacity to generate nearly eight indirect jobs in the economy. 

Additionally, the report noted that the taxes collected from real estate development, such as property taxes, are one of the key revenue sources for the Urban Local Body.

While the traditional paradigm of financing urban infrastructure consists of internal accruals of the ULB and loans and grants from the state government.

The government authorities can tap into financing through real estate using mechanisms such as value capture financing (VCF) which is based on the principle that private land and buildings benefit from public investments in infrastructure and policy decisions of governments.

Furthermore, nature-based solutions such as sponge city, i.e., the new urban construction model for flood management being implemented in China, aimed at strengthening ecological infrastructure and drainage systems, can be adopted.

The restoration and construction of Bengaluru’s stormwater infrastructure are of prime importance to avoid social and economic losses that could arise due to recurring events of urban flooding, it said.

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