IWA Webinar Series Lecture by Dr Suresh Rohilla on Nature Based Solutions for Sustainable Uraban Water Management and flood Resilience

Dates: December 04, 2021  

Dr Suresh Kumar Rohilla, Senior Director – CSE was invited as key speaker at the International Water Association (IWA) India webinar series. The webinar focussed on nature-based infrastructure for urban water management. Dr Rohilla delivered a lecture on how water sensitive design and planning can be mainstreamed in Indian cities for flood resilience. 

Dr Rohilla started the presentation with the brief overview of Nature – based solutions (NbS). He also stated the CSE – SWW’s vision of NBS solutions as umbrella concept and its relation to key existing concepts & CSE initiative on Water – Sanitation Sensitive Design and Planning. 

He emphasized on the rich tradition of rainwater harvesting in India. Historically different Agro - Climatic regions had diverse technologies for rain / storm water harvesting, similar management systems across India and there was participatory and decentralized approach towards the resource management. But over the period of time, now there is declination of traditional water systems that has destroyed the community ownership as well as community responsibility. He further stressed on the challenges faced by the cities due to improper storm water management which is giving rise to flooding in various regions of India. The presentation also focused on the typical pre & post development conditions highlighting the runoff versus infiltration percentages. 

After discussion on the water challenges, Dr Rohilla further emphasized on the solutions and approach towards water resource management keeping in view the sustainable development goals. He explained through the maps the diverse hydrogeology and the huge groundwater potential in India which is getting deteriorated with decreasing water table in all million+ cities. 

The presentation highlighted the approach towards Water Sensitive Urban Design and Planning (WSUDP) at different intervention scales and derived the potential of WSUDP to overcome the prevalent issues/ challenges faced by the cities. He presented case examples of Chennai, Noida, Dwarka for WSUDP Planning. He also mentioned the CSE's research on mainstreaming WSUDP in selected parks of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha where one of the outcomes of this research assisted the Odisha State government in issuing the advisory/ guidelines for adopting WSUDP in parks/ open spaces. Moving ahead, he set the context for Decentralised Wastewater Treatment incl. local Reuse showcasing several case studies from in and around Delhi.

In his lecture he also introduced the web compendiums MOUNT, C-GINS developed by CSE-SWW with sustainable best practices from all over the world that also offers a forum of community of practitioners. 

Following this, he shared therecent big wins and nationwide focus: Policy, Plan, Programmes & Project Level in making Indian cities water and sanitation sensitive using Nature Based Solutions. He further briefed on the recent 3 years unique CSE-NMCG Partnership of “Making Ganga Basin Cities Water Sensitive”.

Dr Rohilla concluded the lecture with the way forward by making water everybody’s business, enhancing water literacy, capacity building & training for mainstreaming innovative policy and practice and legislation followed by strict implementation



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Nature Based Solutions for Sustainable Urban Water Management and Flood Resilience: Challenges and Potential
Suresh Kumar Rohilla
Senior Director, Centre for Science & Environment
Email: srohilla@cseindia.org