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We often hear people say that ‘There was a time, when our city was full of greenery, the climate was cool and there was no water scarcity or flooding problem. Now, things have completely changed.’ Home buyers across the country, are finding it difficult to assess, whether the area they are buying a home in, is prone to flood, drought or pollution. Even if the prevailing situation in an area is ideal, there is no guarantee that it will remain habitable in the coming years.
Cities like Pune, Bangalore and Ranchi, are now facing the problem of water logging in the monsoons and drought-like situation during summers. Many attribute these problems to that fact that construction activities do not take into account ways to counter climate change and to prevent climatic disasters.
“Natural calamities like floods and droughts, bring the city to a standstill. Construction sites bear huge material losses and developers have to face undue delays in projects,” points out Shabbir Kanchwala, senior vice-president, K Raheja Corp. “During the June 2005 floods in Mumbai, livelihood was affected and so were residential and commercial establishments. Consequently, home buyers tend to postpone their property buying decisions, until the monsoon period is over. One also sees depreciation in rent, in low-lying and flood-prone areas of Mumbai,” he adds.
Realty markets in India, which have been severely impacted by climatic conditions
- Delhi and NCR: According to a report, it faces a severe water shortage of 200 million gallons a day.
- Mumbai and its suburbs: The flood in 2005 impacted the entire city, while low-lying areas continue to be affected each year.
- Chennai: Floods in 2015, devastated the whole city and its infrastructure. A report attributed the cause to unplanned and illegal constructions.
- Gujarat: Floods and dry spells have hounded the state, over the past few decades.
Climatic disasters not only reduce the demand for commercial and residential properties, but also enforce corrections in real estate prices. Large investors, too, tend to be wary and prefer other markets over Mumbai, for their long-term commercial activity, points out Ravi Gurav, VP-marketing, Dheeraj Realty and member, MCHI-CREDAI. “The drought around Mumbai city and in Maharashtra and the water shortage in summer also had an impact,” he maintains.
Enduring climate change
Countering the effects of climate change, requires a change in our outlook. The realty sector should focus on building sustainable homes that help in preserving natural resources. Experts point out that sustainable homes incorporate smart technologies that help you conserve, as well as re-use power and water and reduce the generation of waste.
“Developers are slowly adopting such technologies, to sell homes,” assures Diipesh Bhagtani, executive director of Jaycee Homes. Technologies such as solar panels for generating electricity, solar water heaters, rainwater harvesting systems, sewage treatment plants, etc., not only help to conserve energy but also are useful during famines, he elaborates. “Today, everyone wants a sustainable home, so that they have fewer external issues to face,” he sums up.
Measures that real estate projects can follow, to create self-sustaining homes
- Rainwater harvesting and recycling of waste water.
- Using solar energy to light common areas and for other needs in residential and commercial projects.
- Avoiding, as much as possible, the use of materials that can harm the climate.
- Using building materials that can be recycled and salvaged, and ensuring that it is durable, locally available and above all, leaves no carbon footprint.