Unspoiled Environment

Indicator: % of natural area that is disturbed each year

Natural areas in Vizag include ridges, hills, beaches and other areas that are in their natural condition, not having been put to agricultural use or converted to urban uses. “Disturbed” in this context means built upon, cleared of vegetation and/or converted to agricultural use.
The indicator measures the extent to which natural areas are left alone. The ridges and hills that separate the urbanized areas up and down the coast of Vizag are considered one of the area’s most distinct visual features. The ridges separate the city into a series of ocean-facing “rooms.” The low-rise white city sits in the valleys, nestled up against the ridges and hills. Preserving these natural areas is considered a key part of the overall effort towards environmental stewardship, which directly impacts quality of life.

Preliminary GIS analysis using existing GVMC land use geodatabases suggests that there are 15,673 hectares of natural areas in Vizag today. While there is some encroachment onto the beaches and ridges, the level is currently fairly low. The future targets aim to limit the extent of the natural areas that are disturbed through urbanization or agricultural development. While 3% of the total area per year is considered, given the difficulty of enforcing development control, an acceptable maximum over the next few years, Vizag is aiming to limit the annual disturbed area to 1% of the total natural area by the end of the planning period (2030).

Indicator: % 100-year flood plain urbanized (cumulative)

In general it is advisable not to build in the 100-year flood plain because of the risks of loss of life and damage to real property in the event of flooding. In reality, it is difficult to restrict urban development in flood-prone areas that have advantages such as proximity to employment areas and/or low land prices. This indicator measures the extent to which the city — including the local government and the society as a whole — has privileged resilience over development expediency. The 100-year flood plain coincides with elevations below 2.51 meters.

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Source: HRVA Report: Storm surge flood hazard map for 100-year return period for Visakhapatnam city

The figure shows that most of the flood plain, which runs through the centre of the city and connects to the port from the north/northwest, has already been built upon. Finer-grained survey and elevation data will be required to establish an accurate baseline. The future challenge is to reduce the amount of development in the flood plain. This will require restoration of marshes and other lowlands to their natural states. The development of a new airport north of the city centre will create the opportunity for some restoration activity. It is considered unlikely, given the extent of entrenched interests in the area that the entire flood plain will be returned to its pre-development state. The 2030 goal is set at 50% a decrease over today’s conditions.

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