Climate change: China’s ‘sponge cities’ struggle to soak up flooding from severe storms despite billions in investment

by Yujie Xue and Martin Choi at

Chinese cities have spent more than 1 trillion yuan (US$140 billion) on infrastructure to absorb rainfall and minimise flood damage
That is a mere drop in the bucket compared with what is needed to deal with the deluges climate change is dumping on the nation
Shenzhen resident Autumn Fang spent nearly two days at home without water or power in September when Typhoon Saola lashed southern China with record-breaking rainstorms. Near her home, people were paddling lifeboats in knee-high water to rescue stranded pedestrians.

“That’s the crossroads I walk by every day,” she said. “I’ve never seen Shenzhen like this.” Indeed, the city got hit by the heaviest rain since meteorological records began in 1952. Average rainfall across the city from the afternoon of September 7 to the next morning surpassed 200mm, while some areas received a deluge of 470mm, according to authorities.