In the next one-and-a-half years, community-driven solutions to the ever-worsening tidal flooding will be evolved in the coastal belt between Puthenvelikkara and Kumbalanghi in Ernakulam district.
The innovative project proposes to provide a scientific backup in addressing a major lacuna in fighting climate change-induced crisis where the affected communities are left out of discussions and finding solutions despite having a solid local-level foundational knowledge base.
The first phase of this protracted project was launched by distributing tidal flood marking calendars to 1,300 households in Edavanakkad earlier this week. Equinoct, a community-sourced modelling solution provider, and like-minded organisations — M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Community Resource Centre, Puthenvelikkara, ASAR, and Resilient Destinations Foundation — are associated with the project along with the district panchayat and the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA).
A tidal flood calendar app has also been launched for the more tech-savvy among the community members. Both the calendar and the app will enable marking the days of tidal flooding, time, and the height to which the water rose.
“The data will be vital in assessing the frequency, intensity and duration of tidal flooding and based on which a tidal flooding vulnerability map will be prepared. This will be followed by co-creating community-driven solutions and evolving projects for implementation with the funding of the local bodies concerned. Effectively, the community proposes solutions through collective data gathering and acts as a pressure group for their implementation by bringing in bodies like the District Planning Committee and DDMA,” said C.G. Madhusoodhanan, chief executive officer of Equinoct.
The threat posed by tidal flooding, which has worsened over the last few years, poses major threats to the coastal community, including to their livelihood. The government hardly has any solutions other than to relocate the affected, which is next to impossible in the coastal stretch with very high density of population.
Realising the extent of the challenge, the district panchayat is set to host a collective brainstorming session for tackling the crisis. Chairpersons, standing committee chairpersons, and secretaries of local bodies have been invited to participate in the session to be held at the district planning hall at the collectorate on November 24.