Sponge Cities Mission In India

With growing urbanisation, it is time for India to move towards sponge cities due to increasing urban floods

The topic is relevant for different competitive exams as it has been in news recently due to the destruction caused by floods. Candidates preparing for the upcoming government and IAS Exam must refer to the information discussed below. 

Context of the article – Over 50 people died in the wake of torrential rains in the third week of October 2020 in Hyderabad, the experience is not new to the city. Five years ago Chennai also saw a massive flood causing much damage to lives and property. Similarly, Gurugram comes to a complete standstill during the monsoon months. And for Mumbai, the monsoon means flooding and enormous damages.

All these calls for the need of Sponge Cities in India. Hence, the article aims to discuss what are sponge cities, its need and significance and way forward with sponge cities mission in India. 

For the detailed UPSC Syllabus for the prelims and mains examination, candidates can visit the linked article. A few other related links are given below:

Disaster Management in India Floods in India – An Overview
Flood Control and Management Urban Flooding
Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) South Asian Flash Flood Guidance System

What are the Sponge Cities?

A sponge city is a city that is designed to passively absorb, clean and use rainfall in an ecologically friendly way that reduces dangerous and polluted runoff. Associated techniques for sponge cities include permeable roads, rooftop gardens, rainwater harvesting, rain gardens, green space and blue space such as ponds and lakes.

Sponge Cities Mission – In India

The idea of a sponge city is to make cities more permeable so as to hold and use the water which falls upon it.

These can all be delivered effectively through an urban mission along the lines of the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) and Smart Cities Mission.

Aspirants can know more about the mentioned schemes of government on the links given below-

Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) Smart Cities Mission

Know about various other Government Schemes launched for the welfare and development of the country.

UPSC 2021

Sponge Cities Mission in India – Need

Indian cities must become ‘sponge cities’ to tackle urban flooding as –

  1. Urban flooding has become a recurrent feature in Indian metros. India’s Land policy has not helped in managing or controlling the recurrence of major floods in urban areas. The reason for poor land policy could be economic, social and political. The importance of proper land policy has been highlighted even by World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)
  2. There is a lack of a proper drainage network in the cities. Trillions of litres of free, rainwater drop each year, yet most of it is channelled straight into gutters, drains and rivers. This represents a waste of a valuable natural resource.
  3. Concrete structures tend to wastewater while natural systems retain it. When we build cities, we build on wetlands and ponds, which actually have the ability to soak in extra water.
  4. Cities are getting bigger and climate change is threatening to bring more extreme weather events. There is no long-term vision of how to tackle such climate challenges.
  5. Rising global temperatures are making rainfall from storms more destructive which bring devastating urban floods.
Candidates preparing for any competitive exam can get assistance for comprehensive preparation from the following links-

How Sponge Cities Mission in India will be helpful?

  1. Every raindrop is captured, controlled and reused in Sponge cities.
  2. It helps in recharging the depleted aquifers or irrigate gardens and urban farms. 
  3. Water saved through sponge cities mission can be used to replace the drinking water which is used in flush toilets and for cleaning purposes.
  4. Water can even be processed further to make it clean enough to be used for drinking.
  5. Sponge cities absorb the rainwater, which is then naturally filtered by the soil and allowed to reach urban aquifers. This allows for the extraction of water from the ground through urban or peri-urban wells. 
  6.  In built form, this implies contiguous open green spaces, interconnected waterways, and channels and ponds across neighbourhoods that can naturally detain and filter water. 

Aspirants preparing for any government exams can visit the link provided to prepare even better for the examination-

  1. Free Online Quiz for Government Exams
  2. Government Exams Free Mock Test Series
  3. Government Exam Previous Year Question Papers with Solution PDFs

Sponge Cities Mission – Significance 

  1. Following the philosophy of innovation, a sponge city can solve water problems instead of creating them. Instead of funnelling away the rainwater, sponge city retains it for use within its own boundaries. It’s a resource to augment our water supply.
  2. In the long run, sponge cities will reduce carbon emissions and help fight climate change.
  3. If properly implemented, a sponge city can reduce the frequency and severity of floods and improve water quality.
  4. By capturing stormwater, it helps in preventing beach pollution.
  5. Greening the city by planting new plants.
  6. Associated strategies such as green space can improve quality of life, improve air quality and reduce urban heat islands.
  7. Water can be used to keep green spaces verdant, provide an outdoor area for the people who live and work in the building, and even be used to grow food.
  8. This in turn can improve urban ecosystem diversity by providing new habitats for a wider range of organisms.

Other Related Links

Prasad Scheme Urban Planning in India Flooding in India
Swachh Bharat Mission Gist of Yojana – Infrastructure Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana

Aspirants preparing for IAS exam can encounter questions related to Sponge Cities Mission in India in UPSC prelims as well as GS 3. Hence, they should also go through the article carefully.

Aspirants preparing for the UPSC exam can check the links given below –

  1. IAS 2021
  2. UPSC Calendar 2021
  3. UPSC Syllabus
  4. Analysis of the Press Information Bureau

You can also check out the preparation strategies for competitive exams to fine-tune your exam prep.

For the latest exam updates, study material and preparation tips, candidates can turn to BYJU’S for assistance.

Other Related Links
Droughts Tsunami
Cyclone Earthquake
Volcanoes Disaster Risk Index
National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)

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