What does the climate map of Gujarat look like now?
Increasing climate variability is increasing the state’s environmental vulnerabilities.
Gandhinagar, 16 November 2023
Southern parts of Gujarat state are now receiving less rainfall. In Surat, locals say the city’s rainfall pattern started changing about 20 years ago, causing the city to see fewer rainy days every year. However, Surat frequently experiences floods due to simultaneous heavy rainfall.
The mercury starts touching 50 degrees Celsius in Ahmedabad. The previous highest temperature was 47.8 degrees Celsius 100 years ago in 1916. Banaskantha is generally an arid region. Floods occur here due to heavy rains. In the southwest, in arid Saurashtra, farmers and scientists are grappling with a delayed monsoon, torrential rains and rising floods.
In 2015, changing westerly winds led to a whitefly outbreak in the cotton crop. Cotton crop destroyed. Rising sea temperatures have affected fisheries. Weak monsoon has led to a decline in agricultural income and increase in debt. Scientists of Agricultural University say that crop yield is decreasing due to increasing heat.
Increasing use of IAF for flood water.
In the early 2000s, there was a very different feeling in Gujarat about its environmental vulnerabilities.
In 1998, a super cyclone devastated the port city of Kandla. Three years later, Bhuj was reduced to rubble due to an earthquake. The climate of Kutch has changed since then. New types of wounds are increasing. Grasslands in Bani have started getting flooded. Therefore some types of grasses are decreasing and other types of grasses are increasing.
Now storms are coming continuously in Gujarat.
Major environmental hazards are drought, floods, cyclones and earthquakes. He said the biggest threat is drought and excess rainfall.
Gujarat had to work hard to prevent drought. Check dams were built to increase the groundwater level.
The Sujalam Suphalam Rechapjeong Canal is constructed from the Sardar Sarovar Dam. It was left incomplete in the hope that it would be recharged. SAW had another plan – a network of pipelines carrying Narmada water to Saurashtra.
Now, increasing climate variability is increasing the state’s environmental vulnerabilities.
Gujarat claims to take climate variability more seriously than other states. Gujarat was the first state in India to set up a department for climate change.
Gujarat is developing plans for its cities that attempt to adapt to or mitigate the worst consequences of climate stress. While Ahmedabad has a roadmap to deal with heat waves, Surat has a similar blueprint to deal with floods.
Gujarat is the most urbanized state of India. Its cities face extreme weather such as heavy rains or floods. And second, to combat it in slow, subtle ways, such as gradually increasing temperatures or rising sea levels.
Heavy rainfall and temperature changes occur during monsoon. The difference between day and night temperatures has reduced in Ahmedabad. At one time, even though the temperature went up to 45°C, the nights were pleasant and the temperature fell between 25°C to 26°C. But now it is not so. At night it remains between 32 °C and 34 °C. In such a situation, the heat of the night has increased.
There is traffic jam in Ahmedabad due to heavy rains. Now closure of Ahmedabad has started in Somacha. Cities are dependent on networks, human networks of milk, vegetables, food, cash in ATMs, jobs, businesses, industries are disrupted. Urban systems fail during monsoon. 8 major cities of Gujarat are failing in terms of progressive network of cities.
Which is multi organ failure. Each failing organ disables the rest. Due to which social unrest spreads. The epidemic increases. Nutrition related challenges are increasing. Thus, due to climate change the systems of cities are failing.
There is no respite from high temperatures at night. So many people in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Bhuj, North Gujarat cannot sleep without using air conditioner. Air conditioning expels hot air, making the city hotter. The vicious cycle of heat is increasing. The pain is worst in Ahmedabad.
The nights are cold in Surat. Rajkot and 12 major cities of Saurashtra become cold at night. But in cities like Ahmedabad and Vadodara it is not cold at night. In such a situation, the heat increases even during the day.
Not only in cities but also in rural areas far from the sea, it is no longer as cold at night as before. Therefore rural people who are a little prosperous have increased the consumption of air conditioners and refrigerators.
Every city needs natural spaces. Natural space is not allowed in most cities of Gujarat. Chimanbhai Patel’s government in Ahmedabad provided greenery by planting green belts around Ahmedabad. It was not allowed to stop.
Also in 2013, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) approved the development of 13 new town planning schemes for approximately 636 hectares of green-belt area.
In Ahmedabad, 4,200 trees were cut for the Bullet Train project in five years till December 2019. 1,721 for Metrorail project, builders 5,000 with permission, 5,000 without permission, Income Tax-Anjali Bridge 209, 2,500 trees not felled in monsoon. It is estimated that a total of 18,630 trees were destroyed due to Yenken. The condition of other cities is even worse. In every city the heat is being increased by cutting down the green trees which give life by drinking carbon. The administration cleared 7500 trees in Ahmedabad from 2015-16 to August 2019.
Skyscrapers are increasing the heat.
In the city, commercial establishments, houses and big buildings are being built indiscriminately by removing trees, plants and greenery.
In Ahmedabad, the heat is increasing during the cold season since last 4-5 years. The heat is increasing.
Builders are constructing skyscrapers by cutting trees. According to a survey conducted by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), the green cover in Ahmedabad will reach 3 percent by the year 2030. Which will create a big crisis. Winter will disappear and summer can last for 12 months.
According to geographical calculations, the city should have more than 15 percent green cover, but trees are being cut for haphazard industries and huge buildings.
Trees fell, construction increased
Ahmedabad’s tree cover has declined from 46% to 24% in 20 years. Construction increased by 132 percent. According to the survey, the vegetation cover of Ahmedabad will be only 3% by 2030. Ahmedabad’s built-up area increased by 132% between 1990 and 2010, with 7.03% of land being built up in 1990, reaching 16.34% in 2010 and is projected to increase to 38.3% in 2024.
The direct effect of rising land prices is visible here.
Urban population increased by 42.5 percent
According to the 2011 census, the urban population in Gujarat has currently increased by 42.6 percent (2.57 crore). It was 28.1 percent in 1971, 31.1 percent in 1981 and 34.49 percent in 1991. In 2023, 3 crore 75 lakh people are expected to live in the cities of Gujarat. Who is politically strong.
The risk of heat and pollution is highest in Ahmedabad.
Carbon gas, nitrogen oxides, sulfuric oxides and particles form smog at ground level through chemical reactions. Higher temperature increases the rate of this reaction.
Vegetation cover reduces suspended particulate matter and heat. Ahmedabad is going to become a dangerous city by 2030. 10 lakh trees in the city remove 5 lakh kg of pollution every year.
Although the Gujarat High Court had ordered the implementation of the tree-felling policy in 2013, the state has not yet formulated any policy. Thus the state has given permission to cut 9.75 lakh trees in just five years.
In Mehsana, the land of farmers was reserved for green belt for 10 years.
Vadodara Municipal Corporation was to plant trees in a total of 218 open and green belt areas i.e. 75 green belts and 75 open areas other than gardens. Not a single tree has been planted on it and plots are being sold one by one. In 10 years, 50 percent trees have been lost in Vadodara city. Trees were cut down. There were 7,47,193 trees in 2011, which decreased to 3,15,354 in 2020.
For many years, 46 plots were allotted in the name of Green Belt in Vadodara Municipal Corporation. Another 75 plots were announced to be allotted. But the old 46 plots were allotted only to political persons or influential trusts, BJP councillors, MLAs, MP members etc. The cost of the land was more than Rs 200 crore. 90 thousand square meters of land was reserved for green belt.
Town planning schemes
In 2016, 425 town planning schemes were pending in Gujarat. Which was approved by Vijay Rupani. Rupani made a century of approving 100 TPs for the third consecutive year by approving 111 DP-TPs in the year 2020. A total of 108 draft plans, 85 preliminary and 107 final TPs were approved in three years. Rupani approved 110 TP and DP scams of the year. He spoiled the natural environment of the city.
The rule of 40 per cent deduction was not implemented in various 128 TP schemes of Surat and 50 lakh square meters of land was repeatedly given to builders. The city was made denser. On November 4, 2017, it was alleged that funds worth Rs 30,000 crore were collected under the oath of TP schemes in Surat.
Green cover can absorb environmental shocks. If high temperatures are a problem, ensuring adequate green cover is one way to cool the city.
So far, since the Chimanbhai Patel government followed by BJP governments, the government has done little for cities to mitigate the impacts of climate variability. Trees are planted by spending crores of rupees but the number of trees does not increase.
Instead of using building materials suitable for our climate, most modern construction is based on unsuitable building materials. Many malls and office buildings in 33 cities, including Ahmedabad, are covered with glass panels, which absorb heat and increase cooling costs. Actually the surface of the outer wall should be of open brick. Which is being used by South Africa.
Most cities in Gujarat have low tree cover and hard surfaces. Most of the plots in Gujarat’s 3 thousand square kilometre cities are made of concrete for maximum built-up space. The outer ground is also paved and tarmacked. There is very little open area to absorb water. Not every city lacks a large open garden for this. No open land. The water from the roads does not seep into the ground. Therefore, there is no summer moisture inside the soil. Ponds are not allowed. There are dry lakes. There are a total of 156 lakes in Ahmedabad city, out of which 3 have water. there is another drought There were 6 ponds in each village. 332 such villages have been merged into Ahmedabad. There were 1500 to 1800 lakes. Out of which 90 percent construction of ponds has been completed and buildings have also been constructed.
Ground water recharge is very low even after heavy rainfall. Furthermore, the ponds, which recharge groundwater, have been taken over for real estate development and construction of buildings.
Little thought has been given to water supply. Cities are using irrigation water from agricultural dams. Water is being brought to the cities from 200 to 1 thousand kilometres away. What was originally meant for fields is now being used for bathrooms.
In case of water shortage, urban areas bring water from faraway places. Government efforts often neglect villages and the poor, forcing them to turn to private water markets.
Big buildings are being built in suburban areas. What is going wrong. Even in villages outside the limits of any city or municipality in Gujarat, the Sarpanch and Talati of Panchayats have given permission for construction of five to ten storey buildings. Such villages or municipalities do not have land when they merge into the city. Construction has been done on 80 to 90 percent of the land. It uses groundwater and there is no plan to cut trees or open space.
Over the last 20 years in Gujarat, rural and municipal sprawl has merged into cities, where the problem is overcrowding. There are haphazard construction and poorly planned settlements. Most of which are illegal constructions. There are hardly any gardens or green spaces there.
All this needs to change as climate change becomes a reality. But the government is not ready to do anything for this. Now the builders have come to the government. Now leaders have become builders. Which has started destroying the environment by strangulating the city.
People from Gujarat’s industrial and service economy as well as the weakening rural economy are coming here in Rajkot, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat. Agricultural production has reduced due to lack of irrigation water. The cost of chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides has increased for farmers, while production is now declining. They are leaving the village and going to the nearest city for employment. They make cities overcrowded. In fact, if they get employment only in rural areas, they are not ready to go to cities.
Make it mandatory to reduce the heat
Climate change is adversely impacting city performance. There have been suggestions to remove it. Roof top solar heaters should be mandatory in cities. Solar panels should be mandatory for solar energy. The government gives some subsidies. Others don’t get it. There is also a need for rain water harvesting in every house. There should be a rule to plant 10 trees in every house. There should be white cement roads instead of asphalt roads. Painting or whitewashing the outside of houses should be mandatory. The construction should be done in such a way that raw bricks are visible outside the building. Bricks for building construction should not be cement pressed. This should be soil. We have to stop installing mirrors in homes. Impose pollution tax on urban vehicles. Give subsidy on electric vehicles by abolishing taxes. Tax on old vehicles. Ban diesel vehicles during the day. Build a dam near the city. Increase water recycling and reuse.
Build new dams
As cities continue to expand, city water demand will reach 4000 million liters per day by 2031. 2050 will require twice as much water as 2031. Where will this water come from? Instead of using Narmada water for irrigation, the government will use more of that water for the people of cities. In fact, to provide water to the cities, apart from the Narmada or irrigation dams, new dams have to be built in the forest or hilly villages or Adava areas, so that water can be supplied to the cities.
What is true for the country is true at the ward level also. Gujarat’s cities have only 1 percent to 10 percent green cover.
30% to 40% of the land of landowners or farmers is taken for public purpose. Half of this goes into building roads. Then where will there be greenery?
Expensive distant water
Water for all schemes is expensive. The price of Aaji and Nyari water is Rs 2 to 3 per kilolitre. The price of sauna water is Rs 12 to 15 per kilolitre. Therefore water from Narmada and external dams becomes expensive. The energy required for its transportation is wasted. Where the topography is like an inverted saucer, pumping water is becoming expensive.
There is an alternative to sea water. But desalination is more expensive. Cities are focusing on water recycling and reuse. But there is also a problem – lack of funds. The municipality needs Rs 1761 crore to increase water coverage. But he does not have money for this.
Octroi and property tax have been abolished. Therefore local governments have become weak. The government will have to give him money. Those cities cannot work on their environment or construction plans. Grants are limited and come with caveats.
Urban Development Authorities
This changed in 1976 when Gujarat passed the Gujarat Town Planning and Urban Development Act. Subsequently, urban development authorities were established in Gujarat’s largest cities, and urban planning responsibilities were divided between these new bodies and the municipalities.
Urban Development Authorities are unconstitutional bodies. Wool They have taken into their hands those powers which should have been vested in the District and Metropolitan Committees apart from the Municipal Corporation. C has a relationship with climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The purpose of the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments is to democratize planning. Their aim is to break bureaucratic control over the scheme and transfer power to the elected people. But city officials do the opposite. This government is against the constitution of local governments.
All the governments of Gujarat are guilty of not giving their rights to the local bodies. Political parties have, and continue to, weaken local institutions. The essence of constitutional democracy is limited power. But the government is increasing its power. Which does not reflect people’s participation in urban planning. Farmers have to fight against every urban authority for their land. This right is arbitrary. Making money is the only purpose of power.
All this is completely different from the way Gujarat has developed its cities in the past, including under Sardar Patel.
Urban planning is no longer the responsibility of municipal corporations but of urban development authorities, the consequences of which are being borne by the municipalities. They have to provide roads, water and sewerage systems in the areas incorporated into the city by the urban development authorities, but they lack the financial resources to do so.
When sewage and sanitation are inadequate, malaria and other diseases increase.
Local water bodies have been cordoned off. Due to neglect of water supply during the expansion of cities, these cities have had to depend on imported water. This was not the case in Dholavira or Lothal 5 thousand years ago. There were industries in its cities but the environment was safe.
There should be green space in the ward.
The Gujarat government has a department for climate change but its work to tackle air and water pollution is incomplete. While air pollution increases the concentration of greenhouse gases in the air and accelerates climate change, water pollution depletes drinking water reserves, thereby weakening the state’s anti-drought performance. Gujarat Pollution Control Board itself indirectly helps in spoiling the environment, in such a situation what is the work of the government department Environment Change Department.
The state has no capacity to respond to climate change other than organizing seminars.
The thing about climate change is that multiple departments have to take action.
Urban Development Ministry, Revenue, Forest and Environment Department, Agriculture Department, Irrigation Department, Water Supply Department, Meteorological Department should work together but this is not happening.
Across Gujarat, people have been left to fend for themselves to deal with climate change. They do it in different ways. People are creating more pollution and overall heat by installing water and cold air appliances to solve their problem.