Integrated Urban Water Management – India

February 25, 2011


My previous post was on Water Sensitive Cities , the ultimate aim the world over. Very few cities have reached this holy grail, Singapore perhaps is one but its embodied energy and carbon emission per kilo-litre of water is still high.

In the Indian context the first priority would be to get the institutions and staff right. Unless we have capable institutions and skilled capacity even planning correctly for a combined water and sewerage scheme would be difficult. A municipality charged with the responsibility and with 1 or 2 Asst Engineers can hardly be expected to do justice except for maintenance of the system and trouble shooting.

At the very least the staffing should include a hydro-geologist, a environmental engineer, a community organiser and an electrical engineer.

Small towns in India will be dependent on groundwater as a major supplement and therefore a framework of manging groundwater including a legal framework will be important.

The GOALS for IUWM are clear

– Universal access to water and sanitation for all in the city/town.

– sustainable management of groundwater and surface water bodies in the town.

– a legal system or a rights based system which does not deny a connection simply on the basis of property rights.

– a pro-poor policy which helps get a connection for all including breaking the initial connection cost barrier.

Another challenge for IUWM would be to involve the citizenry as part of the solution say for example in helping them maintain their open wells and recharge it so that they lessen the burden on the mains system.

More on IUWM as a I blog.


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