Event Details

Date & Time: November 18, 2021; 5:00pm to 6:00pm IST

Topic: India’s Urban Water Crisis

Platform: Zoom

Speaker: Thomas Varghese, Researcher and Consultant, Sustainable Development, Kochi.

Discussant: Dr. Suparana Katyaini, Assistant Professor, School of Livelihoods and Development, TATA Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad.

Moderator: Dr Reetika Syal, Senior Officer, Research, CPPR.


Speaker : Thomas Varghese

  • Began by highlighting the two sides to the water crisis in Urban India- Urban flooding and Urban drought.
  • 50-60% of water accessed in our cities comes from groundwater sources and the rest from surface water sources. 
  • The Composite Water Management Index released by NITI Ayog in 2019 stated that 21 cities in India were at the brink of groundwater exhaustion.
  • Major challenges faced by groundwater and surface water sources in India
    • Unplanned urbanisation and lack of sustainable urban planning leading to corrosion of natural infrastructure
    • Water pollution through solid waste disposal and untreated industrial effluents
  • Water crisis needs to be viewed as a cross-sectoral issue. If there are no appropriate or efficient solid waste management systems, people tend to use water bodies as dumping grounds. 
  • Need a paradigm shift in approaching Urban water crisis:
    • Unplanned urbanisation to Sustainable urban planning
    • Water extraction to Water conservation
    • Synergy in Policy and Governance
    • Passive observers to Active citizens
  • A two pronged approach to ensuring Sustainable solutions to urban water crisis:
    • Conserving natural infrastructure (Was explained using the case of Catskill Watershed in New York)
    • Investing in Man made infrastructure
  • Understand the value of natural infrastructure and combine the traditional wisdom of water conservation with that of modern science.

Speaker : Dr. Suparna Katyaini

  • Data sharing on water resources has led to preparation of multiple indices on water resources in the last two decades.
  • Dependency on groundwater in India for drinking needs and irrigation and in case of disasters as  urban flooding leads to pollution of surface water.
  • Need to understand the interconnectedness of the water crisis in India.
  • When talking about urban flooding we are talking not just about water policies but also about disaster management policies.
  • More frequent flooding as a consequence of climate change and the need to work around the theme of cities’ resilience- learning from each event of flooding to reduce damage and using systemic approach based on the interconnections
  • Need to bring more synergy between scientists and policymakers 

Report by Aswati Prakash, Research Intern, CPPR

In case you missed it, watch the event video recording here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=398254912000225

Avatar photo
+ posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *