CSE webinar introduces novel European stormwater management initiatives to audiences in India and other countries

New Delhi, May 13, 2020: Polish Atlas for Rainfall Intensities (PANDa) and WaterFolder.com – these were the two initiatives from Poland that were discussed at a webinar organised by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) recently. 

“The two initiatives use innovative models for providing rainfall statistics and supplement the implementation of water-sensitive features. There is a clear need for city-specific spatial rainfall statistics – these are key for planning and designing for effective stormwater management,” said Suresh Rohilla, senior director, water and wastewater management, CSE. 

Going Digital in Stormwater Management: Towards Water-Sensitive Cities’ – as the webinar was titled – brought together experts such as Prof Pawel Licznar of the Wroclaw University for Science and Technology in Poland; Jacek Zalewski, Director, RetencjaPL, Poland; Prof A K Gosain, Emeritus Professor, IIT-Delhi; and Vijay Chaurasia, Joint Advisor (PHEEE), CPHEEO, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India. Anchored by Rohilla, the webinar was attended by more than 420 participants from 181 cities across 30 countries. 

Prof Licznar introduced the PANDa Atlas, citing the need for better rainfall data in a world that is ravaged by climate change, and to address the issue of urban flooding in Polish cities. He showcased the methodology for developing the rainfall atlas, using data recorded by 100 rain gauges over a period of 30 years. These records are digitised into a RainBrain database, on which geo-statistical simulations, spatial interpolations and IDF/DDF probabilistic models are run. The output is reflected in 5 km x 5 km gridded spatial atlas for rainfall atlas for different intensities, and time intervals. 

Mr Zalewski provided details of the problems plaguing Polish cities, where urban flooding is becoming increasingly common. Appreciating the complexity of the PANDa model, he advocated the WaterFolder initiative, which simplifies the decision-making process. The WaterFolder.com is an interface between designers, operators and PANDa, and provides a three-step process of determination of design specifics of water-sensitive features, using data from PANDa and other local design standards.

Mr Chaurasia stressed on the need for such data and models in Indian cities, and how these can be useful in achieving the objectives of urban development missions like Smart Cities Mission and AMRUT. He also dwelled upon the potential of the India Urban Observatory to act as a repository of such a rainfall atlas, which can be used to prepare sustainable stormwater management strategies. 

While appreciating the PANDa model and the WaterFolder initiative, Prof Gosain highlighted the key challenges for such initiatives in Indian cities. He shared his views regarding the data gaps for rainfall statistics in India, and how these can be filled through the Smart Cities Mission. He also talked about the challenges related to calibration and data verification. 

Said Rohilla: “The webinar provided significant inputs on how we can customise the PANDa model for implementation in cities in India, which have a mix of uses and a varied dimension of urban issues related to water resource management and urban flooding.” 

The webinar was organised under the auspices of CSE’s School of Water and Waste under the Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute (AAETI). 

For other details, please contact Sukanya Nair of The CSE Media Resource Centre, sukanya.nair@cseindia.org / 8816818864.