Is Indian Real Estate Prepared For Climate Change?

Climate change is no longer a butt of meme jokes anymore. The impact may not affect a large number of people at the present moment, but the signs have already arrived since many years: Inordinate rainfall, temperature variations, water problems etc. It is just that our limited attention spans have not registered this environmental anomaly which will stare us at our face in the coming decades.

So the question is: Is Indian Real Estate prepared for climate change?

The short answer? No. The lengthy answer requires a brief sketch of the core of the topic: Has the Govt created any policies or any new developments have occurred with regards to the Climate issue? Or have the real estate players taken any steps?

We take an example of Mumbai.

As per Ravi Gurav, VP-marketing, Dheeraj Realty and member, MCHI-CREDAI, climate disasters have forced corrections on real estate prices and have reduced demands for commercial and residential properties. He also adds, “The drought around Mumbai city and in Maharashtra and the water shortage in summer also had an impact”. He also said that large investors tend to be wary and prefer other markets over Mumbai for their long-term commercial activity.

In 2015 in an interview, an India-born author Amitav Ghosh asks Adam Sobel, an atmospheric scientist at Columbia University in New York about climate change’s future impact on Mumbai. The one main takeaway of the interview is that a major cyclone landfall in Mumbai is possible. While 2005 rains devastated Mumbai and led to the Govt forming the Mumbai Emergency Management Plans, a major cyclone could be very devastating for the Metropolis and there’s fear that millions could be affected. As also due to rising sea levels, whose rate cannot be precisely predicted.

Elsewhere across India, Realty markets in India have been severely impacted by climatic conditions:

  • Delhi and NCR:  Faces a severe water shortage of 200 million gallons a day.
  • Mumbai and its suburbs:  Low-lying areas continue to be affected each year by heavy rains.
  • Chennai: In 2015, heavy rains devastated the whole city and its infrastructure. A report attributed the cause to unplanned and illegal constructions around the city.
  • Gujarat: Floods and dry spells have haunted the state since the past few decades.

As the saying goes, a small step taken by many can make a difference. It has to start from the most basic premise: Local Sustainability. This means sustainable homes can make a difference. The slew of activities below may be a useful guide.

  • Rainwater harvesting and recycling of waste water.
  • Using solar energy to light common areas and for other needs in residential and commercial projects.
  • Using building materials that can be recycled and salvaged. They should be durable, locally available and above all, leave no carbon footprint.

Diipesh Bhagtani, executive director of Jaycee Homes assures us of some positive developments in this regard. He said, “Developers are slowly adopting such technologies, to sell homes.”

We hope in the coming decades, Real Estate Companies like ours will join hands together in creating a new market for home buyers. In a heavily populated nation like ours, it is an act which requires urgency of the utmost level.