POOR DRAINAGE SYSTEM IN INDIA

22 Aug 2021

Curtain Hug

India has an outdated, almost a century-old drainage system surrounded by a network
of surface and underground drains. almost a century-old drainage system surrounded by a network
of surface andrains. Only one-third of all urban households are
connected to a proper piped sewerage system in India but the remaining 80% of
sewage from cities goes untreated which has been tried for decades to solve. Among all
the cities Mysore has the best drainage system and becomes the cleanest city in India.
Most of the big cities including our capital have no proper mechanism of industrial waste
disposal. Sanitation and hygiene problems worse by flooding during each annual
monsoon season resulting in property loss, damage to crops, fish, jute, and weaving
industry, make people and cattle homeless, and scarcity of drinking water due to
contamination of domestic water sources with stagnant pools of breeding sites for
diseased vectors.
The most common causes of drainage blockage include heavy storms and rainfall,
deposition of plastic and unknown objects, food waste, tree roots, and mineral buildup,
formation of clogs with hair, grease, and other sticky substances, damaged pipes, and
release of untreated industrial wastes.
Several problems occur due to a poor drainage system. Poorly drained stagnant water
pollutes groundwater sources resulting in several waterborne and other diseases like
cholera, malaria, typhoid, lymphatic filariasis, and other worm infections like
schistosomiasis.
To improve the poor drainage system, some essential measures have to be taken for
the quick and easy disposal of water flow into a surface watercourse. First of all,
redesigning and modification along with new construction of drainage system, guided by
the expert engineers is required. It has to be kept in mind that drainage installed by one
community should not be problematic for other communities nor should it affect
ecologically important sites with proper attention given to the environmental
considerations. To minimize groundwater recharge, improved and modernized surface
drainage with concrete lining canals and distributaries, tertiary canals should be built.
The drains must be properly maintained and cleaned. Community participation is
essential for adequate cleaning and maintenance with the companionship of friendly
government inspectors and municipal authorities who could provide support for clearing
the drains.
Regarding domicile drainage, every day generated sullage could be disposed of by the
construction of a soakaway pit which should be located away from the house and away
from the water sources with a minimum gap of 30 meters. This distance may be
increased if houses are uphill from water sources. In urban areas, drains may also be
incorporated into sewerage systems and be buried. Buried drains have inlet chambers
at regular intervals, usually along roadsides, that allow the entry of stormwater and lead
directly either to a watercourse or to a sewage-treatment plant. It can also be made in
rural areas if the village roads are paved and if flood flows are significant. Alternative

usage of sullage could be done by using it to irrigate small gardens, therefore,
improving the crop yield and nutrition. In this way, it can be reused only if it contains
little and no detergent which may damage crops and should be promoted later if
possible.
Apart from these main causes, migration to cities often leads to land encroachment and
exerts pressure on the existing civic infrastructure. Therefore, proper urban planning
and infrastructure are required to keep pace with the growth of the population. Cities
need a proper system of garbage collection and sewage disposal. Plastic bags and food
plates should not be thrown in the open space or the neighborhood drains and strict
actions should be enforced to ban the usage of plastic bags. Moreover, rapid
urbanization, industrialization, and population growth have also contributed to drainage
systems getting congested because these drains are not able to take the pressure of
huge water accumulated due to heavy rain, resulting in waterlogging, Therefore
rainwater harvesting could play a significant role in reducing the chances of flooding in
urban areas.