International Virtual Training Programme on ‘City-wide Water and Climate Resilience through Water Sensitive Urban Design and Planning’

The Event is now Completed

Dates: January 25 - February 6, 2022 | Platform: Moodle and Zoom

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), India in partnership with Water Research Commission (WRC), South Africa, the Future Water Institute at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) is organized an international virtual training programme on “City-wide Water and Climate Resilience through Water Sensitive Urban Design and Planning (WSUDP)” for African practitioners. 

A total of 53 practitioners attended the workshop (out of 87 registrations) from 10+ cities in South Africa and 2+ cities across Uganda. The participants were from a diverse background of engineering, geography, hydrology, consultancy, architecture and urban planning. The participants represented various government organisations including Dept. of Water and Sanitation, Cape Town and Johannesburg,Dept. of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Cape Town, Dept. of Planning city of Tshwane&Ekurhuleni, Sarah Baartman District Municipality, Municipalities of city eThekwini, Elukwatini, Emalahleni and Potchefstroom, etc.; in the private sector, the participants represented organisations including EDC Tanks, MPAMOT (Pty) Ltd., AECOM, AL Abbott and Associates, ICLEI Africa, Future Water, SMEC, V&A Waterfront, Breede Grouritz Water Management Agency. etc. Representations from academic and research institutions included Kenya Water Institute, University of Cape Town, Johannesburg, North West (NWU), BORDA South Africa, Centre for Water Resources Research - Durban, Eco Focus LTD.,etc. 

PART A: Context-setting for WSUDP (Online Platform) was held from 25 January - 1 February, 2022 on the CSE Moodle Platform. The participants were enrolled and provided with 12 hours (approx.) Essential’ and ‘Recommended/Supplementary’ reading and audio-visual audio-visual training material which they were expected to self-study. The platform also allowed participants and trainers to hold discussion threads where necessary.

A virtual launch/ inaugural event was organised on January 25, 2022 in which the training programme and its background were introduced to the participants. Dr Suresh Rohilla, Senior Director - CSE welcomed all participants and shared his experience of the WSUDP programme in the global south, and the role of CSE and its partners in this initiative. Mr Jay Bhagwan, Executive Manager – WRC and Ms Shanna Nienaber, WRC, provided the context of the training by highlighting the linkages between WSUDP and developing resilience against the pandemic, and climate change. Mr Dhruv Pasricha, CSE shared the details of the training programme: the course structure, a demonstration of the Moodle Platform and other details. 

Part A of the training provided a brief overview of challenges and opportunities in urban water management w.r.t. climate change and urban water resilience, WSUDP concepts, and the framework for implementation in South Africa. In addition to this, the material also provided latest guidance and policies in the WSUDP sector, focussing on the aims, benefits and components of WSUDP for any new developments and redevelopments. As a component of Part-A, an online discussion and feedback session on pre-training was conductedon February 1, 2022in order to facilitate interaction between the participants and various resource persons working on WSUDP in South Africa. The session was moderated by Dr Kirsty Carden, UCT and Mr Dhruv Pasricha, CSE.

Part B(WSUDP Planning and Designing)
of the training programme was held on the Zoom Platform with three virtual sessions on February 2 – 4, 2022. The sessions covered topics ranging from terminology and concepts related to water resilience to discussion on good practices and WSUDP implementation. 

Day 1 (February 2, 2022) began with A/Prof. Kirsty Carden, Interim Director, Future Water Institute – UCT showcasing application of water sensitive designing at regional scale. She presented various opportunities for water sensitive design under existing policies of South Africa. She showcased several case studies highlighting the use of water sensitive design (WSD) and sustainable urban design systems (SUDS) particularly taking the 

example of Cape Town Water Strategy in South Africa. In the next session, Mr Dhruv Pasricha, CSE discussed on the water sensitive approach, its different components, scope and applicability at various (individual, neighborhood and zonal) scales.  He presented several case examples from India at different scales and landuses and concluded that decentralised WSDP solution help in ‘naturalising’ urban water cycles and are also affordable and manageable. This session was continued by Dr Hildegard Rohr, JLL discussing the applicability of WSDP at neighbourhood and municipal scale in south African context highlighting on the landuse water quality and quantity impacts. The next sessions focussed on the data requirements and their sources for planning WSDP measures. Ms Shivani, CSE presented the various data heads and their analysis that are required to plan and design different WSDP structure. Dr Hildegard Rohr, JLL showcased the various sources available in South Africa for these database.

This was followed up by a guest lecture by Dr John H. Mathews, AGWA sharing his research and experience on the emerging approaches to analyse climate risk and develop resilience w.r.t. urban water management, to address flood and drought issues. He showcased case studies of ‘resilient landscapes’ from Lusaka (Zambia), California (USA) and Udon Thani (Thailand) focussing on urban water resilience and linking with quality of life and risk assessment. Day 1 ended with fruitful discussions around constraints in a top-down water management system and how a structured, uncertainty-tolerant decision-making approach can aid in building resilience in the wake of project uncertainties due to climate change. 

Day 2 (February 3, 2022) was dedicated to bring attention to urban water resilience frameworks and case studies in South Africa. Tamsin Faragher, Resilience, City of Cape Town, delivered a session on Liveable urban waterways programme and other resilience initiatives. She provided a governance context for the water sensitive design for climate adaption and mitigation in Cape Town and discussed in detail on few individual projects. She highlighted the importance of partnerships for building knowledge, collaboration, public space as a driver of water sensitive design; and the transversal nature of water sensitive design across disciplines through her presentation. The next session on ‘C40 CFF Transformative riverine management programme’ was delivered by Mr Geoff Tooley, Catchment Management, eThekwini Municipality. He presented a business case of Durban in maintaining natural assets to increase city resilience. He presented the case for upscaling Sihlanzimvelo (stream) for city-wide transformative riverine management and to be resilient to climate change, to be valuable places which are clean, safe, healthy, useful and pleasant open spaces, to create jobs and build the green economy, to build communities, to work in partnership with all affected stakeholders and to impact positively on the city as a whole. This session was followed by a group exercise on Data Collection based on the learnings from Day 1. Participants brainstormed on the level/ type of data required and their analysis for designing and planning different WSDP structures.

Day 3 (February 4, 2022) kick-started with a detailed technical session on planning and designing considerations for RWH, SuDS and DWWTS by Mr Dhruv Pasricha, CSE. He thoroughly took the participants through the various planning and design norms, strategies and thumb rules for various components of the RWH systems, SUDS features, stormwater harvesting interventions for parks and DWWTS. Post this, Shivani, CSE presented on the O&M, monitoring and economic feasibility of WSUDP systems (RWH, SuDs & DWWTS) and the various components of O&M schedules and stakeholder engagements. Moving forward, Dr Carden and Dr Rohr jointly shared the focus areas of WSUDP and building climate resilience in South African context in terms of the various guidelines, existing laws on SUDS and institutional framework for spatial planning and implementation of WSD. 

Following these sessions and discussions, the second half of the day was reserved for the DIY group exercise and presentations. The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) exercise: Planning and Designing WSUDP at three different scales was introduced and the participants were given datasets for City ‘X’ for two different geographies. They were divided into two breakout rooms with a training coordinator in each group. They were required to prepare a WSUDP plan for their city and identify various stakeholders with their roles and responsibilities for successful management of the plan. The participants worked on the DIY for the next one and half hours presented on their plan within a maximum of ten minutes per group. This was followed with a detailed discussion on the plans prepared by both the groups and the presentations were appreciated by the trainers. Both the groups did astonishingly well in the given time and it was observed that a perspective for WSUDP was developing in the participants. 

The training was concluded with a brief feedback session and vote of thanks by Dr Rohilla, Mr Bhagwan and Dr Carden on how the learnings can be taken forward and other suggestions.

For more information, contact the following training coordinators:


South Africa

Dhruv Pasricha
Programme Officer, Urban Water Unit
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), India

A/Prof.Kirsty Carden
Interim Director
Future Water Institute - UCT

Training directors


South Africa


Jay Bhagwan
Executive Manager:
Water and Wastewater
Water Research Commission, South Africa





Click to enlarge
“Thank you for this Course, I really enjoyed it and it has really changed the way I look at the environment and water management.”
Desigan Ganamany
“Thank you very much everyone. The course was very informative”
Eden van Eyssen
“Thank you all so much for a well-coordinated 2 weeks. I personally learned a lot. Till the next training. Keep well☺️”
Amahle Mjaji
“The training was extremely insightful and a refreshing take on the way we look at water.”
Kelvin Subramani
“Thank you team. Very insightful. I have consumed a lot of knowledge”
Isaac Maphanga
“Was VERY refreshing to rethink planning and design with water as a key element”
Kasozi Petero
Download Flyer
Target Group for training
Architects / landscape architects, planners, engineers and other water and sanitation professionals working with consultancies, design firms, non-profit organisations, government departments & agencies, research institutions and academic centres.
External Experts for the training
John Matthews
Executive Director,
Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA)
Tamsin Faragher
Acting Director
Resilience Department at City of Cape Town
Geoffrey Tooley
Senior Manager,
Catchment Management -Coastal Stormwater and Catchment Management Department Engineering Unit