Tamil Nadu Government Officials Visit Japan to Finalize a Comprehensive Flood Control Master Plan for Chennai

The second training program in Japan for developing a comprehensive urban flood control master plan in Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Chennai, 27 May 2024: In a significant step towards bolstering Chennai’s disaster risk reduction, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been implementing the project titled the Project for Formulation of Comprehensive Flood Control Master Plan in Urbanised River Basins in Chennai with the task force comprising of Tamil Nadu Disaster Risk Reduction Agency (TNDRRA), Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), Tamil Nadu State Water Resources Department (TNWRD), and Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) to develop a Comprehensive Flood Control Master Plan for the Chennai Metropolitan Area since February 2022.

Due to the lack of a comprehensive urban flood control master plan, the Chennai Metropolitan Area has endured significant flood damage on multiple occasions, notably the 2015 floods which proved to be disastrous. The CMDA has been preparing for the third master plan for Chennai Metropolitan Area for a period that spans twenty years from 2026 to 2046. This JICA project aims to establish a comprehensive Flood Control Master Plan which integrates flood risk reduction measures systematically and optimally. Through the project, fifteen Automated Water Level Recorders (AWLRs) near target rivers were installed to enhance disaster risk reduction by technologies. These recorders provided substantial data for analysis and for preparation of disaster risk reduction initiatives that captured the water level of the devastating floods in December 2023 which damaged around 15,000 houses (Tamil Nadu State, 2023).

The project includes components for two field visits and training programs in Japan, with the first training conducted in May 2023 and the second one in May 2024. From May 11-18, 2024, the second batch, comprising officials from National Disaster Management Authority and local counterparts in Chennai, gained first-hand knowledge of flood management policies and frameworks employed in densely populated areas like Tokyo and its surroundings in Japan, that face similar urbanization challenges as Chennai. By leveraging Japanese expertise and global best practices, thus, the collaboration seeks to further identify associated risks, formulate preventive strategies, and ensure the safety and resilience of Chennai’s residents.

In June 2024, Chennai officials and JICA will host a seminar in Chennai to share and discuss the project outcomes with other Indian cities and local stakeholders. By the end of the project in August 2024, the project will complete effective flood mitigation plans. By clarifying complex flood dynamics and implementing strategic interventions, the project endeavours to significantly mitigate flood risks in the Chennai Metropolitan Area, ensuring the safety and resilience of its inhabitants.

Speaking of the project, Mr. SAITO Mitsunori, Chief Representative, JICA India, stated, “Chennai’s recent floods in 2023 remind us of the importance of the urban flood control master plan and the prevention measures. Also, global climate change has been causing more floods and impactings our lives. I believe that the second visit to Japan encouraged the officials to finalize the plan through discussion with Japanese counterparts and among themselves, as well as learning Japanese and global best practices. Through this project, JICA supported Tamil Nadu to develop a comprehensive master plan for urban flood management that safeguards the precious lives and resources of the people of Tamil Nadu. “

JICA is actively engaged in leveraging Japanese expertise and global best practices to mitigate the risks exposed by urban flooding, earthquakes, landslides, and other natural hazards across India and abroad. These activities including training programs and knowledge-sharing align with the nation’s priorities of enhancing resilience, safeguarding lives, protecting critical infrastructure, and ensuring sustainable development.

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