Training Programme on Water Sensitive Design and Planning: Towards Sustainable Urban Development.

Date: 14 to 16 July, 2015

The Water Programme at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), recently conducted a three day training programme on "Water Sensitive Design and Planning: Towards Sustainable Urban Development" on July 14-16, 2015. It was organized under the "Capacity Building of Urban Local Body" (CBULB) programme sponsored by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Government of India. 

The training received an overwhelming response of 37 nominations from the target states. A total of 32 participants from nine states (West Bengal, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Bihar, Assam, Odisha and Delhi) attended this training programme. Officials of target states were from urban local bodies, development authorities, town and country planning organization, public health and engineering department, sewage and engineering divisions and  Delhi urban shelter improvement board. 

The aim and objectives of the training programme are as follows:

Aim: Capacity enhancement of city officials for "Integrating water management at the strategic scale of planning and design to achieve sustainable development in towns/cities’. 


  • Improved knowledge on "Water Sensitive Design and Planning" (WSD&P) - the concept, tools and techniques.

  • Awareness of the potential and benefits of implementing WSD&P for sustainable urban development.

  • Develop skills to plan, design and implement select WSD&P – best management practices. 

  • Increased exposure and mindset change for mainstreaming WSD&P. 

  • Update on existing and upcoming policies/guidelines/reforms on WSD&P and the way forward.

First day of the training programme covered the basic concepts of water sensitive design and planning (WSD&P). Dr. Suresh Kumar Rohilla, Programme Director (Water Programme, CSE) briefed the participants about the Centre for Science and Environment and its activities. He provided an overview of water related issues and challenges in urban areas and highlighted need of the WSD&P concept. His session covered two important principles of WSD&P- first, that all elements of the water cycle are considered concurrently to achieve an outcome that sustains a healthy natural environment while meeting human needs and second that the consideration of the water cycle is made from the outset, and throughout the planning and design process.   A documentary film on designs that hold water – ‘sustainable drainage systems explained' - produced for Environment Agency UK & Leeds City Council was shown to the participants.  This was followed by sessions on potential and opportunities for WSD&P at different scales in urban areas; water sensitive design: Introduction of Best Management Practices (BMP). Environment policies, EIA and statutory requirements for building construction & township projects and concept of low impact development was covered at the end of first day.

Second day mainly focused on tools and techniques for WSD&P. Prof. Somnath Sen, of IIT Kharagpur, one of the experts on the subject, covered characteristics of upcoming and emerging paradigms of urban water systems and the relationship between water sensitive urban designs, ecologically sustainable development and integrated water cycle management. He covered these aspects with a supporting case study of Medinapur town in West Bengal. This was followed by a very interesting session by Mr. Tanmay Kumar, a pavement engineer on porous pavements as one of the best management practices for water sensitive design and planning in urban areas to increase the infiltration and control flooding conditions. He showed interesting videos from abroad as well as from India showing demonstration of the effectiveness of porous pavements. 

Most of the sessions in the training programme were followed by group exercises  for understanding concepts covered during sessions. Planning and designing exercise for select best management practices of rain water harvesting and conceptual understanding of sustainable urban drainage system (SUDS) were conducted. 

On the third day, a field exposure visit was organised to Nizammudin (E) colony in Delhi,  to showcase rain water harvesting (RWH) systems at neighborhood scale as one of the BMPs for WSD&P.  Participants interacted with Ms. Vandana Menon, Architect, who has been instrumental in planning and designing the RWH system. This was followed by sessions covering important principles of WSD&P, Recycle and Reuse by treating waste water were covered by providing overview of waste water characteristics and case studies of various natural waste water treatment technologies at decentralised level. Main modules of decentraized waste water treatment (DWWT) system were explained to participants with their design, function and construction requirements i.e. space and cost. Each module of DWWT system (Sedimentation Tank, ABR, constructed wetland and open pond) was explained in detail. This was followed by group exercise by participants to suggest DWWT system in given area.

Dr. Suresh Kumar Rohilla discussed the way forward and possibilities of incorporating such emerging concepts in urban planning. Participants shared about how the knowledge and skills gained from training programme would be beneficial for their future work. The implementation of possible projects was discussed according relevance of their work and organisation. During the feedback session participants appreciated the content and methodology of the interactive training programme. They also indicated need for WSD&P for towns and cities for sustainable development. All participants received a certificate at the end of the training programme. 

More details about the training are available at:

The news about this training programme was covered in Assam Tribunal: 




For further information contact:

Ms. Shivali Jainer
Senior Research Associate
Water Programme
Centre for Science and Environment




" I appreciate the efforts made for covering so much of topics/issues in such a short duration of three days.The course /training programme was very well Co-ordinated and was very informative."

Mr. J.K.Kapoor,
Assoc. Town and Country Planner, TCPO, New Delhi

" It is recommended to give this type of training. It can be better if it will be organised at state level so that more persons will get opportunity to attend this training."

Mr. J.R.N. Patro,
Deputy Executive Engineer (Public Health), Odisha

"It was a wonderful programme. It can be further improved with more exposure visits."

Mr. Manoj Ranjan Nanda,
Executive Engineer, PHEO, Sambalpur, Odisha

"More training programmes like this should happen."

Mr. Amit Kumar Katariyar,
Assistant Engineer, M.E. Directorate, West Bengal

"Case study of some north-eastern town/cities should also be included where rainfall is always more than the other parts of India."

Mr. Rupjyoti Saikia,
Asst. Director, Tinsukia Development Authority, Assam

"Overall training programme was very good experience. I think officers involved in policy making should be involved in training example: Administrators, Town Planners. Also, new items like porous concrete etc. should come in schedule of rates."

Assistant Engineer (Civil), Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board

"Overall very nice training. The time duration for the training should be extended to one week including field exposure visits."

Mr. N.S. Seerhamohan,
Assistant Executive Engineer, Corporation of Chennai

"Please recommend water sensitivity and RWH implementations in India to the government for the forthcoming years"

Mr. V. Chinnadurai,
Assistant Executive Engineer, Corporation of Chennai