National Seminar(s) "Mainstreaming Sustainable Urban Water Management: Issues and Challenges in Policy and Practice"

Venue: Magnolia Hall, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

December 27th, 2016

CSE Water Team conducted National Seminar(s) on mainstreaming sustainable urban water management: Issues and challenges in policy and practices on December 27, 2016. 

Seminar 1: Mainstreaming urban water conservation and efficiency
Seminar 2: Mainstreaming energy efficiency in water/wastewater management in the wake of climate change

Through the seminar(s) CSE proposed policy framework in the above thematic areas and highlighted best management practices and sought stakeholder consultation and involvement before finalization of the same. 

The proposed policy framework encompasses:

  • Policy framework for water conservation/efficiency and energy efficiency will lead to making India a water frugal economy and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

  • Strategies introduced to improve existing management models by working on demand management including usage of water efficient fixtures, reducing NRW and also operating, maintain and monitoring these systems

  • Energy efficiency is not only for sustainable urban water management but also a tool for carbon mitigation in cities

  • Water sensitive urban design and planning approach can lead to mainstreaming intervention for water and resource efficiency leading us to becoming a water prudent society. 

For more details click here:



Dr. Suresh Kumar Rohilla, Programme Director, CSE highlighted the unsaid rule of cities looking for distant source of water and similarly of sending sewage to flow out of the city as far as possible. He gave a brief about various government schemes like the ‘National Water Mission’ according to which by 2017, 20% water savings is supposed to be achieved, and according to ‘National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency’ 20% energy savings need to be achieved. 

The inauguration session was supported by the presence of Chief Guest Mr. U.P. Singh, Additional Secretary and Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India. Mr. Singh highlighted that building toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission is not the only solution to solve the pollution problem of River Ganges – a more holistic approach is required. He discussed the scenario of Yamuna and told the participants about how the water flows from Hathini Kund to Wazirabad to further downstream of Delhi and how the quality and quantity of water changes at all these points. He also talked about the importance to increase water use efficiency and conservation in all sectors to achieve Nirmal Dhara and Aviral Dhara. 

This was followed by speech of Mr. V.K. Chaurasia, Advisor, Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation (CPHEEO), Ministry of Urban Development (MOUD), Government of India.  He highlighted the fact that as per the Ministry’s calculation approximately INR 18 lakh crores is required in India for water and sanitation alone, but due to limited resources, prioritization is important and all the departments need to be considered. He highlighted the need to concentrate on two things 1) On building capacity of the ULB and 2) On sensitizing the general public. 

The inaugural session ended with presentation of Dr. Mahreen Matto, Programme Manager, CSE who explained the reason for studying water conservation & energy efficiency in urban water management; the existing water management model; & reviewed the existing policies, pans & guidelines related to water in India; and further went on to introduce the two policy backgrounds to the participants. She ended her speech by giving a brief about various government schemes like the ‘National Water Mission’, ‘National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency’ & ‘National Mission on Sustainable Habitat’ and the way forward.


Seminar 1: Mainstreaming urban water conservation and efficiency


Mr. S. Vishwanath, Director, Biome Environment Trust, Bangalore referred to the several new rainwater harvesting norms as per law for Bangalore city which states that every plot must create recharge or storage – @ 20 litres per square meter of roof area – @ 10 litres per square metre of paved area and minimum depth of recharge well is 3 metres. He shared his experience on Jakkur lake and its eco system which results in livelihood and cultural heritages.

Mr. Manu Bhatnagar, Principal Director, Natural Heritage division, INTACH compared the population projections with various agencies (even CPHEEO included) and projected a demand as 1018 MGD in 2051 with population of 27 Million. For achieving the policy paper objectives he recommended several statements such as priority in water allocation, demand management, recycled water resource, controlling distribution losses, aquifer management, database management, access to water for all.

Ms. Shilpa Chohan, Founding Partner, Indian Environment Law Organization (IELO) referred to several statics which predict that India would be water stressed by 2020. She made a point of best action such as passing of a national framework water law (Draft) or setting up an institution such as Nation al Bureau of Water Use Efficiency or ensuring that each state has a comprehensive water law with some common basic principles.

Ms. Shivali Jainer, CSE covered the topic on water sensitive urban design and planning. A case study on Dwarka city was taken as an example to explain the various aspects of planning a city such as rainwater, catchment analysis, storm water, drainage network, flood water harnessing, green space required. This was followed by Ms. Chhavi Sharda’s, CSE presentation which covered the topic on in-situ water augmentation by reusing treated wastewater. She mentioned the need to have Decentralized Waste Water Treatment systems (DWWT) and the pre- requirements for the same. The DWWT at CSE building and Delhi Jal Board head office (Varunalaya) was explained.

Mr. Tanmay Kumar, CH2M HILL started his presentation with different conservation strategies related to runoff reduction that is either by simply reducing impervious area by replacing with pervious or by maintain total runoff from an area before and after paving. He further explained design of pervious concrete as per soil type. He concluded the session mentioning about the case example on road based - pervious concrete for Air Force in Ghaziabad, India.


Panel members: M. Satyanarayana, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation; S.D. Singh, Delhi Parks and Gardens Society; Depinder S. Kapur, NIUA; Durjoy Chakraborty, CGWB Moderator: ParitoshTyagi, Former CPCB

M. Satyanarayana “Water and Sanitation is a state subject. Water is handled at both state and central levels. Two policy initiatives have been taken up by the central government, namely ‘Formulation of state specific action plan for all agricultural, domestic and Industrial sectors’ and ‘Formulation of water efficiency rating for electrical appliances, just like energy efficiency ratings. There is a need for regulation of water consumption for commercial purpose. Industries shall use treated/recycled wastewater and no freshwater should be provided to them. Surplus freshwater shall be provided for domestic purposes (like flushing, etc) and agricultural purposes. A push factor for the dual piping system is required to be implemented with differential pricing schemes.”

S. D. Singh “We need to understand the importance of surface water and the relation with aquifer’s recharge. A surface area for surface water bodies need to be fixed. He mentioned that there are 1000 water bodies in Delhi out of which 876 have been marked with their respective latitudes and longitudes and 83 have sewage flowing in into them. Cities have regulations for the conservation of water bodies but lack implementation.”

Dipender Kapoor “Rivers should be considered dying even when their tributaries are dying, some of the key points can be observed in case study done by NIUA for Malviya Nagar. The study was undertaken to supply water to each house 24x7, but due to lack of standard for water supply per capita, the project failed. The water requirement for a family of 4-5 members varied from 660 litres (having toilets with flushing systems) to 250 litres (toilets without flushing systems). The policies in India are very basic and weak. There is a lack of a single water management authority.”

D. Chakraborty “There is a need to switch of urban agglomerations from a market based establishment to be resource based. Conservation can be achieved only through behavioural attitude of people. Efficiency in water conservation is majorly achieved by technology (like using high-tech fixtures, etc.). Proper implementation of buffer zones in the vicinity of sanctuaries should be done, to enhance groundwater recharge. The potential urban recharge areas needs to be identified and subsequent measures should be taken. There is a need of policy for rationalized water usage need to be made. Legal and regulatory frameworks regarding water need to be more precise.”

Seminar 2: Mainstreaming energy efficiency in water/wastewater management in the wake of climate change


Mr. Pradeep Kumar, Senior Adviser, Alliance to Save Energy, Bangalore highlighted that the cost of energy for supply of water may easily consume up to half of a municipality’s budget (40-60%) which is second largest cost after manpower. Cost recovery is an enormous challenge for most of the municipalities and water utilities (NRW, metering, Low tarrif etc.). He further explained that the reason for such poor efficiency are many, while main causes are: 1. Procurement is based on “first cost” (L1) not “life style cost”; 2. Over Design: in view of catering future need; 3. Efficient component not installed and/or operated properly.

Dr. Uday G. Kelkar, Director, NJS Engineers India Pvt. Ltd. spoke of various mechanisms being used such as USAB, WSP, MBR etc. defining each system, layout and thereby explicating how each new technology nullified the other on the basis of energy consumption, while not highlighting the amount of water used. Dr. Kelkar spoke about energy efficiency and conservation by increasingly emphasizing on the use of nitrogen, and its use in newer technologies such as combined UASB & DHS process and production of energy at these plants using microbial fuel cell.

Mr. D. Rajendiran, Senior Assistant Vice President, Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Limited (TNUIFSL) stressed that two major electrical energy consuming areas in ULBs of Tamil Nadu are Water Pumping and Street Lighting. For which the preliminary energy survey was conducted by National Productivity Council for 20 ULBs and The Energy Research Institute for 25 ULBs. He concluded the session explaining about the Tamil Nadu municipal energy efficiency project as First statewide municipal energy efficiency initiative in water pumping and street lighting through ESCO mechanism in India which included Investment Grade Audit (IGA) for water pumping and street lighting and implementation of EE measures for 29 towns in 3 clusters under phase i and 16 towns under phase II.

Prof Virendra Kumar Paul, Professor, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi explained the impact of recycling pointing out that (i) energy cost increases as the levels of treatment increases (ii) for residential occupancy, surplus treated water may be produced (iii) thus recycling may be effective only in a system involving multi-occupancy buildings at neighborhood level (iv) possible uses for recycled water: Landscaping, horticulture, HVAC, DG sets, service industry. He explained the process of energy audit, water specific energy audit and water efficiency labeling of plumbing products.

Mr. Milind Deore, Energy Economist, Bureau of Energy Efficiency highlighted that the major barriers which were faced in the program (such as municipal demand side management program which talks of savings of 25-40%), namely; 1. Low focus on Energy Efficiency 2. Absence of Energy Management Cell, 3. Lack of data on existing usage patterns, 4. Lack of awareness on EE technologies 5. Limited availability of capital for investing in EE; 6. Poor Credit Rating.


Panel Members: Arun Kansal, TERI; Shubhagato Dasgupta, CPR; S. Vishwanath, Biome Environmental Solutions Moderator: Suresh Kumar Rohilla CSE

Arun Kansal “Today policies and practices are in total conflict with one another. We need to focus on the water-energy nexus in urban cities. The solutions might be different in different places.”

Shubhagato Dasgupta “In Indonesia for example, only larger cities will have underground sewers. Other smaller cities will have smaller STPs like in Malaysia- it is all contextual.”

Vishwanath “At present governance and institutional framework in India is only focused on technologies. The policy needs to look at a legal framework. We know what needs to be done, however the gap is with the lack of governance we are facing in India, with regards to water management. We need a policy and a strong legal framework with strong implementation. We need to expand horizon and think of externalities like scope of reusing the treated water as far as decentralized systems are concerned. We need to focus on “systems thinking”, when we think about decentralized and centralized systems. The question is how do we get ideas implemented? How do we create greater institutional framework which looks at the bigger picture? We should also look at a solution which is implementable. The practice exists, but there is no holistic policy. We need to make certain benchmarks which will act as targets in the policy. The policy should measure itself on the basis of outcomes that it achieves. It should realize political reality.”


For more information kindly contact:

Dr. Suresh Kumar Rohilla
Programme Director- Water Programme
CSE, New Delhi, India

Dr Mahreen Matto
Programme Manager
Water Programme
CSE, New Delhi, India
+91-11-40616000+91-11-40616000 (Ext:257)