Conclave cum Sensitization Workshop on Making water sensitive cities in Ganga basin aimed at improving river health/flows

The event is complete

(Applicable only for government officials)

Date: March 15, 2023
Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Venue: Juniper Hall, India Habitat Centre (IHC), Lodhi Colony, New Delhi, 110003

Ganga basin has 2,009 statutory towns, with an urban population of 165.2 million (16.52 Crore), as per Census of India 2011. In terms of increase in urban area, it is seen that the urban built-up area has increased approximately 44% from 10,512 sq. km. in 2005- 06 to 15,138 sq. km. Urban Lakes and ponds are deteriorating and being encroached upon at an alarming rate. This loss is also reflected in the groundwater regime of urban and peri-urban areas, in the quality of water in drains and rivers, and the incapability to manage moderate and extreme rainfall events. Urban lakes and ponds in the basin are critical green infrastructure which need to be protected, and integrated with the larger planning and conservation practices, in order to achieve the various objectives of the Namami Gange Programme.

Over the years, the Groundwater levels in the basin have deteriorated, primarily in the upper Ganga basin, along the urbanised areas along rivers Ganga and Yamuna. Uttarakhand, western and northern Uttar Pradesh and parts of Haryana and Rajasthan have witnessed GW levels dropping from 5-10 m b.g.l. in 2009, to 20-40 m b.g.l. Managing GW flow is integral in contributing to the e-flow in rivers in urban areas. There is need to focus on extensive GW recharge in urban areas, in order to contribute to the flow of the rivers and streams in urban areas, which will also help in reducing the concentration of pollutants. GW recharge projects can be implemented by rainwater harvesting in parks / open spaces for recharge of groundwater and effective urban flood management, revival and conservation of lakes, ponds and wetlands, decentralised sewage / greywater treated and local reuse. Water sensitive urban design and planning approach aims to integrate the above and offers a blueprint to implement as well as monitor the above mentioned.

A global South Water Sensitive Cities Framework. 

A water sensitive cities framework for global south cities should aim at achieving outcomes and impact that are relevant for the context and challenges of cities of global south. 

Aggregating existing urban water, sanitation and storm water “Service Level Benchmarks” will not help in defining “water sensitive cities” framework. These are aggregated numbers and do not account of varying infrastructure and service levels for less privileged areas. They also tend to endorse the expansion of existing centralised systems demanding massive capital investments, that may not work for all and often fail in the context of poorly financed urban local bodies of global south

Cities of India and global south are marked by rising inequity in urban settlement/housing, translating into inequity in access to basic infrastructure and services (including water supply and sanitation, drainage and waste water management). In many instances, close to 50% and sometimes more of the population, lives in congested unplanned settlements(unauthorised or authorised but congested living areas, slums and other informal habitations). The intensification of water cycle, due to climate change, is creating a demand for both water conservation, as well as higher norms and infrastructure for draining away storm water. 


Cities commit to a “Just and Equitable Access, Use, Re use” of water supply, to sewerage/septage and storm water management. 

Implying that the framework recognises inequity in urban settlements as the basis of planning and designing interventions for water sensitive cities. There is no “leap frogging” possible without addressing infrastructure deficiencies, especially for the less privileged residents of our cities. That climate change impacts everyone, yet the less privileged may get impacted more severely. That we need to strengthen urban planning and not look for only design interventions, place making and beautification as outcomes of water sensitive cities.


  • Larger and long-termvision (firmly rooted in the equity, rights and justice goals). Not just in projects. Intercity and urban-rural contextualisation of interventions.
  • Climate change exacerbates already existing water scarcity and flooding risks of cities. Mitigation measures should not further inequity.
  • “Design” consciously for Equity and Justice. Abandon a normative, techno managerial approach to “design” interventions for water sensitive cities.
  • Reducing conflicts. Recognise existing and future conflicts around water and waste. Address them to the extent possible in programs and policy.
  • Improving functionality and efficiency grey and green infrastructure.

About the Conclave
The knowledge conclave is one of a series of activities under the 3-year partnership (2021-23) between Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi, and National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) for making water sensitive cities in Ganga basin’ aimed at improving river health/flows.

CSE has developed a set of learning collaterals under the NMCG-CSE partnership. 

To present them for peer review and to engage to develop a shared understanding of challenges and priorities in water, storm water, lakes and water bodies, decentralised waste water treatment systems and septage management challenges.The conclave is aimed at generating a deeper insight and engagement with key experts and city officials, academia and NGOs, on these critical issues. 

To use this opportunity to engage with a larger audience on what is appropriate for a global south water sensitive cities framework, as a contribution to river basin cities and to the global discourse.

Conclave Coordinator

Senior Research Associate
Urban Water Programme
Mobile: +91-8699770153

Training Director

Depinder Singh Kapur
Water Programme, CSE



Context setting
By: Sumita Singhal, CSE
Session 1: Urban Stormwater Management - Potential and Challenges
By: Shivani, CSE
Session 2: Urban Lakes and Waterbodies Management
By: Shivani, CSE
Session 3: A Global South Water Sensitive Cities Framework/Index for Ganga Basin Cities
By: Depinder Kapur, CSE
Session 4: Co-treatment of septage and sewage
By: Sumita Singhal, CSE
Session 4: Decentralized Wastewater Management – A Paradi gm Shift
By: Jyoti Parsad Dadhich, CSE
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Target Audience
The target audience includes government officials, practitioners and key stakeholders engaged in water, urban water and its administrative and political dimensions of management.

Sessions are designed to provide time for in-depth discussion.
  • Central / State / Municipal functionaries (decision makers / managers and regulators) Planners (Urban/ Regional/ Environment),  
  • Engineers, Architects / Planners working in Town & Country Planning / Municipal Administration Department or State Urban Development Authorities
  • Engineers from Water supply and Sewerage boards / Jal Nigam or Jal Sansthan and other officials dealing with various water conservation/ management missions  
  • Any other programme dealing with water, sanitation, flood, river, wetland or environment-related matters in the city and urban areas.
  • Alumni of online and residential trainings.
Only selected registrants will be contacted.