Planning climate resilient coastal cities: learnings from Panaji and Visakhapatnam, India

Planning climate resilient coastal cities: learnings from Panaji and Visakhapatnam, India

Energy and Resource Institute working paper assessing climate resilience of infrastructure and services in two Indian coastal cities.

This year-long study by the Energy and Resources Institute aims to develop and test approaches that can increase the climate resilience of infrastructure assets and the services they provide in developing nations. This working paper documents the development and demonstration of an urban infrastructure inventory to support climate resilience planning, as well as a rapid climate vulnerability assessment approach for infrastructure services. Two coastal cities were chosen for the study: Panaji, the state capital of Goa, and Visakhapatnam, India.

Chapter one provides a brief introduction to the project, before chapters two and three give an overview of the approaches adopted for assessment in the project cities. For each step, experiences and challenges are summarised so as to best share learning for other practitioners. Chapter four explains the Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Coastal Cities methodology which was developed as part of this study. Chapter five discusses the approach for developing recommendations, before chapter six closes with key lessons and scope for further work.

The recommendations which emerge from the study cover structural measures, non-structural measures, and suggested data fields, broken down by sector. These include:

  • Ecologically sensitive areas, i.e. mangroves: these require rehabilitation and preservation measures, and the maintenance of spatial maps of sensitive natural assets, including beach erosion levels near cities.
  • Solid waste management: waterproofing measures are required, such as barriers to reduce contact with flood-water, and creating elevated storage areas. Siting regulations should be reviewed and alternative sites identified upon vulnerability assessment.
  • Heritage and tourism: structural improvements are required to reduce the impact of flooding, and buildings should be checked for stability and efficiency, accounting for sea-level rise. Emergency plans are required to ensure the safety of tourists, requiring data on intensity and flows of tourists year round.
  • Water supply: work to prevent leakages and infiltration of flood water into pipelines, establish emergency supply plans; and ensure quality and frequent monitoring, especially during rainy season. Data required includes information on the age and capacity of treatment plants and seasonal reports on water quality.
  • Sewerage and drainage: the vertical elevation of the outfall channel needs to be above high tide level to avoid back flows, and climate resilient planning of new drains to support vulnerable city zones is needed. Alternative energy sources in vulnerable zones housing pumping stations should be identified, and mapping, capacity, and seasonal data on structures and water levels are recommended.
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