Faculty: Mriganka Saxena

Enabling sustainable urban water management in Indian cities through statutory, regulatory, and administrative frameworks

A 2018 NITI Aayog report estimates that, one, by 2030, the urban water deficit will stand at almost half of the projected demand and, two, 21 major cities will run out of groundwater in the immediate future. Contamination and misuse of our natural water resources are rife and urban flooding has become a recurring problem across multiple cities. This Indian urban water crisis has led to wider health, environmental and economic challenges, not only risking urban growth but also reducing the quality of life for millions of city dwellers. Although national programmes such as the Jal Jeevan Mission-Urban rightly address the huge gap in water supply and sewage infrastructure, it is not enough to deliver long-term urban water sustainability, an imperative for resilient and healthy cities. With unprecedented growth estimated for urban areas over the next 30 years, a strategic shift is needed to effectively institutionalise Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM)* in the planning frameworks and processes of our cities.
The purpose of the project, therefore, is to identify and understand gaps, issues, and potential enablers in existing statutory, regulatory, and administrative provisions across scales (national, state and city) that hinder (but could potentially aid if enahnced) the effective implementation of Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM)* across Indian cities to ensure long-term urban water sustainability.
*IUWM is a flexible, participatory, and iterative process that integrates the elements of the urban water cycle (source management, water supply, sanitation, stormwater management, sewage treatment and its reuse, solid waste management) with both the city’s urban development and river basin management to maximize economic, social, and environmental benefits in an equitable manner (World Bank 2012).

Student DRP