Six Chennai maps clarify why the town faces hazard of floods annually


Over the previous week, heavy rains have lashed the town of Chennai, bringing again painful reminiscences of the December deluge in 2015 that left greater than 300 folks lifeless.

On October 30, the North East monsoon hit Tamil Nadu with a bang. Faculties have been shut for many of final week, and the state authorities issued a discover asking non-public corporations to permit their workers to make money working from home.

On November 2, after six hours of incessant rainfall, a number of areas in southern and western Chennai have been waterlogged. Fearing a repeat of the 2015 floods, greater than 10,000 residents of low-lying areas took shelter in 114 aid centres in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Nagapattinam, the Tamil Nadu authorities stated.

Regardless of the efforts of Chennai authorities to organize for the monsoon by desilting rivers and constructing storm water drains, many low-lying residential areas discover themselves beneath just a few ft of water ever yr.

The reason being easy. Most of those low-lying residential areas have been as soon as lakes.

A comparability of the 1909 map of Madras, the 1970 Survey of India map and a up to date Google map exhibits how the town’s lakes have disappeared over the previous century.

The Lengthy Tank

Map of Madras, 1909. Supply: Maps from the Imperial Gazetteer of India (Quantity 1-24) by way of Wikimedia Commons

Right this moment, there isn’t any hint of the big water physique marked on the map because the Lengthy Tank. Over the previous hundred years, densely populated neighbourhoods have been constructed on this lake, together with Thyagaraya Nagar – identified for its jewelry and sari outlets. These areas now represent central Chennai.

Vyasarpadi Tank

Vyasarpadi Lake. Supply: Map of Madras, 1909 and Google maps.

The erstwhile Vyasarpadi tank in northern Chennai now homes the Dr Ambedkar Authorities Arts School, in addition to the houses of the poor in BV Colony and Saliman Colony. Traces of the tank could be seen within the Survey of India map of 1971. However within the current day map on Google Earth, the Vyasarpadi tank has totally disappeared.

Velachery Lake and Adambakkam Lake

Velachery Lake. Supply: Survey of India map, 1970 and Google maps.

Components of Velachery and surrounding areas have been inundated by a number of ft of water throughout the floods of 2015. The neighbourhood continues to face water-logging and visitors jams yearly, together with this monsoon. A look on the Survey of India map of 1970 exhibits that that is hardly shocking. Right this moment, solely a sliver of the lake nonetheless exists. The 2 Adambakkam lakes will not be evident any longer.

Katteri Lake

Katteri Lake in Kotturpuram. Supply: Survey of India map, 1970 and Google maps.

Within the 1970 map of Chennai, a lake known as Katteri could be seen slightly below the winding Adyar River. Right this moment, alongside this lake lies the Tamil Nadu Science and Expertise Centre in addition to the Tamil Nadu Electrical energy Board workplace of Taramani space.

Kodungaiyur Lake

Kodungaiyur Lake. Supply: Survey of India map, 1970 and Google maps.

The Kodungaiyur Lake of North Chennai not exists. As a replacement is Muthamizh Nagar, consisting of tightly-packed homes of the Tamil Nadu authorities housing board challenge.

Konnur Tank

The bottom flooring of many homes in SIDCO Nagar, which was developed on the Konnur tank, have been submerged throughout the 2015 flood. Whereas many components of the town went beneath water in December, this space in Villivakkam of western Chennai confronted intense water-logging by means of the month of November itself. The areas surrounding the lake incessantly face flooding yearly.


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