Collaboratory update May 2022 | India
News and updates from our Indian colleagues
18 May 2022
Our India Collaboratory is working across government scales and stakeholder groups to embed water management into urban planning, striving for universal and equitable water security. Colleagues at IIT have worked closely with Delhi Jal Board (DJB, water utility agency) since the Hub’s inception, to embed and drive forward water sensitive planning in the strategic development of the city. Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the two organisations, providing a platform from which further collaborative work may continue, bringing the two organisations together for joint studies, research, training, and data sharing. The aims of the relationship are the co-creation of water operation and management strategies, water policy, and knowledge platforms, alongside the consideration of water in urban planning, to integrate and tackle water security issues across Delhi. “We look forward to further collaboration with DJB through this MoU to make positive change in the water sector.” - Dr Dhanya, Co-Investigator. “It's vital that collaborations such as this are realised in order to tackle and deliver genuine change in water security. These partnerships make a real difference to action on the ground.” - Professor Richard Dawson, Hub Director. The next phase of collaborative work is already underway, with water quality monitoring locations and schedules finalised.
The SPA New Delhi team has commenced the next phase of work with Hub partner organisation, Janya Collective. Pilot surveys on water use and distribution have been completed and reviewed, and the finished survey is nearly ready for distribution. The team is also working with Janya Collective on community action plans to increase the role and representation of local communities in water resource management, pilots of interventions (particularly focused on water conservation), and a community education programme adapted from our KATS programme.
Hub researchers have also been meeting with other stakeholders, conducting interviews to gain understanding of their perceptions on water values, and the importance of values in the water management system in Delhi. Meetings were held with several officials from different organisations based in the city who play an important role in policy making, including the National Institute of Urban Affairs, and the Town and Country Planning Office.
The India team is leading the Hub’s research on water sensitive planning (WSP), an approach to sustainable development that integrates water considerations into urban and regional planning. To facilitate cross-Collaboratory work, a focused working group has been formed. Recent meetings have been focused on the nature of links between spatial planning and water planning in respective country contexts, and how components of water sensitive planning relate to aspects of each Collaboratory’s research. A paper on water sensitive planning theory for cities of the global south is already in progress.
SPA colleagues hosted a hybrid seminar to mark this year’s World Water Day, celebrating the world’s precious, invisible resource; groundwater. The seminar, titled ‘The Place of Groundwater in Water Security’, was focused on the NCT of Delhi and brought together distinguished practitioners, academicians, and researchers engaged in groundwater to share their knowledge and experience with participants.
Finally, members of the India team have attended and contributed at several recent events. Dr Prabhakar Shukla attended both the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) High Level Policy Roundtable on Science Technology and Innovation Policy for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Pan-Asia Capacity Building Roundtable on ‘Water – Wastewater and Sanitation Sensitive Planning for Climate Change Resilience Building in South Asian Cities’. The Pan-Asia roundtable connected key water sector players and practitioners in the Global South, providing a platform to continue discussions on current challenges and opportunities in urban water management and building resilience against climate change. Prof PSN Rao participated in the XV-Finance Commission on the agenda of the 'incubation of new eight greenfield development areas' in India, as part of an expert committee meeting on water bodies of the NCT of Delhi, and Prof AK Gosain was invited to speak on national television for Sansad TV on the occasion of World Water Day.