The economic impact of floods and waterlogging on low-income households: lessons from Indore, India

As Indian cities grow, urban planners must ensure that basic infrastructure and public services are provided on a sustainable and equitable basis. Access to amenities such as water, electricity, food, drainage, sewerage systems, solid waste disposal, healthcare and transportation are key to the smooth functioning of urban areas. Indore, like several other rapidly growing cities in India, faces the problem of ever-changing land use, the emergence of high-rise buildings and walled townships, and growing informal settlements across the metropolitan area. These developments render the urban poor vulnerable to disease, accidents, loss of assets and daily livelihood struggles, as well as exposure to severe economic and non-economic losses as a result of severe weather events. This study estimates the economic losses suffered by the urban poor in terms of assets and productivity due to climate-induced waterlogging and floods. It examines how the vulnerability of slum dwellers living in informal settlements is exacerbated by a lack of supportive institutional mechanisms, the nature of non-inclusive economic growth, the social exclusion of urban landscapes and discriminative access to public services.