In a response to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Bishweswar Tudu, disclosed a distressing statistic that over 17,000 people lost their lives due to floods and heavy rains in India during the period from 2012 to 2021. The increased incidence of high-intensity rainfall of short duration has been identified as a major cause of urban floods, further exacerbated by unplanned growth, encroachment of natural water bodies, and poor drainage systems, as PTI reported.
According to data compiled by the Central Water Commission (CWC) and presented in the House, the total damages incurred during this period, including crops, houses, and public utilities, amounted to a staggering Rs 2,76,004.05 crore.
In an effort to tackle the growing issue of urban flooding in flood-prone areas, Minister Tudu stated that the government has initiated several measures to encourage groundwater recharge and other nature-based solutions. He highlighted the development of the "Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Groundwater - 2020" in collaboration with states/Union Territories, envisioning the construction of approximately 1.42 crore rainwater harvesting and artificial recharge structures across the country, aimed at harnessing 185 Billion Cubic Metres (BCM) of water.