Online Course: Water Woes- Reality of Urban Water Management

The Registration for this course is closed

Course Dates: May 04 – June 08, 2020
Last date to apply - April 29, 2020
Total Study Load: 28 hours
Commitment: 6 hours a week   

Cities in India and South Asia are spiralling. Our climate is changing, making cities more prone to extreme rain events and floods while water scarcity and pollution continue to grow. Water problems jeopardise the survival of millions of people globally. Recent water crises in states of India - Chennai, Bihar and Assam over last summer have been devastating. Ground water, lakes and rivers in India are exhaustively overdrawn (a CSE study showing ground water sources 48% of urban water supply in India), yet no city in the country has adequate water supply. Fresh water sources are reducing due to rapid urban expansion. Cities encroach and pollute them as wastewater is disposed into water bodies untreated. Central Pollution Control Board indicates that 43,117 MLD (million litres per day) of untreated sewage flows into rivers across India. Additionally, 351 river stretches across the country are polluted due to discharge of both municipal and industrial waste water over the years (CPCB, 2018).

Presently, as we confront the new global enemy novel ‘coronavirus disease’ (COVID-19), the availability of water will be a crucial determinant for a successful outcome in this war. It is estimated that family of five would need around 100 to 200 litres of water per day only to wash hands. The current urban water management paradigm has its difficulties – it is energy and capital intensive, has legal and institutional gaps, creates and maintains wealth inequality and disregards our natural environment. It prioritises access for a select population and excludes the remaining. Research indicates that the urban poor around the world pay up to 50 times more for one litre of water than their better off neighbours, as they buy their water from private sellers (UN Water). Yet, our problems and solutions both usually involve big, technological fixes with little consideration of increasing vulnerability of the urban poor and national ecosystems.

Realizing the current water scenario and demand for this knowledge, the School of Water and Waste, AAETI, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) is organizing an online course on “Water Woes: Understanding Urban Water Management” as part of a series of successful online programs that CSE has conducted since 2016. The course will provide a holistic perspective on today’s water scenario and emphasize the need to move towards a water secure future. It will help practitioners and decision makers with various other commitments to improve their subject-knowledge online in their own time, using a highly supportive and interactive learning platform. 


To help students, working professionals and environmental enthusiasts learn state-of-art concepts and principles of improved urban water management at their own comfort and pace. 


  1. Identify gaps in the legal aspects of water provision access and governance.
  2. Recognize the various external and internal stresses and shocks to water bodies in a city
  3. Indicate the current problems with physical water infrastructure
  4. Illustrate the increasing scope of a decentralised approach to wastewater management
  5. Demonstrate inequity in access and pricing of water in a city and associated ripple effects among the urban poor
  6. Suggest scope for interventions based on different problem scenarios and contexts.
  7. Identify tools and approaches for urban water management 

Theme 1: Water and Development – What Works and What doesn’t

Theme 2: Making Water Everybody’s Business

Theme 3: Learning from Nature – The Dying Wisdom

Theme 4: Tools and Approaches to operationalize interventions 

Course Work
The course comprises of self-study, technological learning tools such as presentations, videos featuring case studies from various countries, interviews with experts, inspirational talks, and other audio material. It will facilitate interaction amongst participants through online forums and discussions. Also, it will be interactive with several interesting assessment exercises and quizzes. Participants will also get a chance to interact and learn from experts at CSE through online interactions and a webinar. 

Target Audience:

  • Working professionals and decision makers from government and non-government institutions
  • Urban Planners, Architects, Engineers and Accredited EIA Consultants
  • PMU assisting Govt. in mainstreaming water and sanitation measures
  • Recent graduates and environment enthusiasts
  • Researchers and academics interested in curriculum development
  • Representatives of Resident Welfare Association
  • Other sector professionals with a desire to update their knowledge on the water scenarios 

Course Director
Dr Suresh Kumar Rohilla
Senior Director & Academic Director, School of Water and Waste
Centre for Science and Environment, India

Course Coordinators

Shivali Jainer
Programme Manager
Water Programme
Centre for Science and Environment, India

Research Associate
Water Programme
Centre for Science and Environment, India


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Benefits upon completion:
This course is part of School of Water and Waste’s objective to create ‘Urban Water Leaders’. Top 5 participants who perform well on the course will be invited to AAETI, Nimli with a fully funded fellowship for one of our upcoming training programs. Participants who perform exceptionally during these training programs will be awarded the title of ‘Urban Water Leaders’.

Additional benefits include:
  • Course participation/completion certificate
  • Top 5 scorers will get a 50% refund of their course fee
  • One-year free subscription to Down To Earth magazine after course completion
  • Join a global network of practitioners of the School of Water and Waste
Course Fees:
For Indian Participant: INR 3500
Overseas participants: USD 100
Alumni Feedback
“Great experience, course was well designed all most all areas of urban water issues covered. Technological interventions like desalination and other topics also use full in this course. As a journalist I can use this material in my line of work. Really am very happy with this course and eagerly waiting for other courses, workshops and seminars. Thank you to CSE team.”

B.N. Jyothiprasad, Mnager, Principal Correspondent, Eenadu
“The reading provided were gem! It has created a good amount of doc for reference in future too. I would like to thanks the team for provided these to us as.”

Vidur Shresth, Project head, Ratnashilp
The knowledge gathered through this course is truely useful in my research in a long term and short term. Looking forward for more of Similar programs.

Vastav Irava, Reseracher, Centre for Policy Research
“The study material, the video lectures and the live case studies are the stuff I liked most about the course. The best experiences were the online Quizzes - MCQs, I enjoyed a lot attempting them.”

Ritu Agrawal, Professor, Birla Institute of Technology
“The best thing was the way this course was structured. First of all the present problem and various aspects where we are lagging or going wrong, then the steps to be taken both policy wise and on the technical grounds using new nature based solutions and various decentralized innovations and finally the ways to implement these solutions. Thus this structure of analysis, finding solutions and then implementation is the best thing I find about this course. My experience with the Mount portal was a great one.”

Vaibhav Sharma, Student, PEC University of Technology