Future city — challenges and opportunities for water-sensitive sustainable cities, in India

Future city — challenges and opportunities for water-sensitive sustainable cities, in India
Photo by Scott Webb / Unsplash

This abstract is based on the research paper “Future city — challenges and opportunities for water-sensitive sustainable cities, in India” by Vandana Pusalkar, Vimala Swamy and Anand Shivapur.

Cities have grown rapidly in India, and life without water in the cities cannot be sustained. Almost all rivers flowing through cities in India are getting polluted. Urbanization and industrialization lead to environmental destruction and water pollution. Experts realize that urban water supply infrastructure, its planning and management need to be radically changed. Of the total water resources available on the planet, only 2.5 percent is in the form of fresh water. The extensive use of water resources for various purposes such as households, agriculture, and industry has led to water shortages. It is persistent due to deterioration of flowing or stagnant water bodies as various pollutants mixed with fresh water. The impact of the socio-economic system driving to the deterioration of water quality is the main concern of urban local bodies at the city level. Global warming, climate change, and other environmental impacts made it compulsory for all nations to promote eco and resilient cities.

As cities grow, the demand for resources (e.g., water) also grows. But the resources are depleting at a faster rate. In 2000, International Water Management Institute published, one survey of projected water scarcity in 2025 worldwide, which says more than 85 percent India, will be water-scarce as the population is more than 125 million today. In Indian cities, urban water management poses a major challenge for government authorities, as wastewater is mostly channelled into open canals due to a lack of water and wastewater infrastructure, which leads to unsanitary and environmental pollution of rivers and streams. Therefore, it is a challenge to find sustainable development to meet future needs. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), SDG6.1, and SDG11.2 fully emphasize the sustainable management of urban water resources to promote resilient cities.

The Indian government launched the Smart City mission in 2015, aiming to make cities smart in all aspects. The concept of a smart city varies from place to place and It depends on the level of development, the willingness to change and reform, and the resources and aspirations of the city residents. Smart cities should strive for clean and sustainable growth while considering all areas of social, economic, and environmental sustainability. When looking at the development paradigm from the perspective of urban resilience, it is important to narrow the gaps in the fields of knowledge such as urban planning, sociology, and ecology.

Future city — challenges and opportunities for water-sensitive sustainable cities, in India
By Bhupesh Upadhyay, Sanrachana