Indonesia's Capital, The World's Fastest Sinking City! Here's How To Mitigate Urban Floods

Jakarta is rapidly sinking. It is the fastest sinking city in the world as of now. The article below explains the major reasons behind the sinking of Indonesia's capital and also discusses the ways to mitigate urban floods
Created On: Nov 8, 2021 10:11 IST
Modified On: Nov 8, 2021 10:14 IST
World's fastest sinking city
World's fastest sinking city

Floods can be devastating and are caused due to natural or man-made reasons. Man has directed the waterways of the world by creating dams and barrages. This has led to some major flooding incidents and loss of groundwater in past years. Jakarta, the capital city of  Indonesia is sinking bit by bit every year. The city has faced many urban floods too in the recent decade. In the article, we would be discussing the reasons for flash floods and about Jakarta here. 

Why is Jakarta called the Sinking City?

  1. North Jakarta is expected to submerge underwater up to 95% by the end of 2050. 
  2. North Jakarta has already sunk 2.5 metres in recent 10 years and would continue to sink by almost 25 centimetres every year in various parts. 
  3. This is double the global average for coastal megacities of the world.
  4. It is sinking by an average of 1-15 cm per year with almost half the city submerged under the sea.
  5. Take a look below to locate Jakarta on the map. 


Reasons behind the sinking of Jakarta:

  1. The major reason for the sinking of Jakarta is claimed to be the excessive extraction of groundwater. Jakarta has low water levels for drinking, bathing and other everyday purposes. 
  2. Piped water is also not available in most areas so the citizens have to resort to pumping water from aquifers that are deep underground. This is the reason due to which the land sinks or subsides. The effect is as if the land is sitting on a deflated balloon. 
  3. Moreover, there is socioeconomic development that is urbanization and population growth, increased demand for groundwater and reliance on it. This leads to increased flood risks, damage to infrastructure and loss of life ultimately. 
  4. The other reason is climate change, which means accelerated sea levels rise in extreme weather events breaking the embankments and causing floods. 
  5. Poor Planning of the city is also one of the major reasons for sinking of the city of Jakarta
  6. The economic development has worsened the effect of subsidence. The impact of subsidence due to groundwater extraction is greater when populations tend to increase in low lying areas. Indonesia's population has been up by 35% from 1990 till now. 

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Causes of General Urban Floods

  1. Climate Change: This is one of the major reasons that cause an increase in sea levels and increase in rains which causes floods
  2. The construction of roads is from concrete which causes low seepage of groundwater and floods in the cities. 
  3. The growth of the urban population has increased the population which in turn has increased the resource demand and climate change will supply more variables. This would lead to further exploitation of groundwater. 

Urban Floods: Ways to mitigate

The floods can be mitigated by plantations of mangroves in these areas of coastal plains. Mangroves are said to bind the land and hold water in the ground planted on. They have a dense tangle of prop roots that make the trees appear to be standing on stilts above the water. Moreover, climate change must be controlled by controlling global warming. This would lead to controlled weather changes and rainfall. The better planning of the cities avoiding concentration near the resources can also be one of the solutions of controlled urban floods. 

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Will Jakarta sink completely?

Jakarta's north coast has sunk more than 2.5 cm in past 10 years along with many other locations. It is expected to sink completely from the north by 2050.

Is Jakarta safe?

There is a lot of buzz about Jakarta being unsafe but as such there has been no true reports for foreign travelers.

Where is Jakarta located?

Jakarta is the capital city of Indonesia and is located in northwest coast of the island

Which is the fastest sinking city of the world?

Jakarta is the fastest sinking city in the world as per current statistics

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