International Training Programme on Water Sensitive Urban Design and Planning

Date: July 14-22, 2020

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), India in partnership with Water Research Commission (WRC), South Africa and University of Cape Town (UCT) organized an international virtual training programme on “Water Sensitive Urban Design and Planning” (WSUDP) for African practitioners from 14-22 July, 2020. The training was scheduled in two parts:

  • Part A: Pre-reading Material (14-20 July, 2020)
  • Part B: Virtual Sessions (21-22 July, 2020)

Part A was conducted on the Moodle Platform, supported by webinars. The aim of Part A was to introduce the concept of WSUDP to the participants, and provide the context for the need, applicability and potential of WSUDP strategies in urban areas of Africa. Part A also provided relevant material on linkages of WSUDP with climate change and COVID-19; and how this concept contributes to building against both.

For Part A, the participants were provided essential reading material (8-10 hours). This was also supported by other recommended reading material, videos, recorded presentations and experience-sharing webinars.

A total of 45 participants enrolled in the training programme from 11 cities, with a 50:50 gender ratio. Out of these 38% were consultants, while 25% each represented govt organisations and from academic background.

An inaugural webinar was held on 14 July, 2020 with Dr Suresh Rohilla, CSE and Mr Jay Bhagwan, WRC who provided the role of WSUDP in improving urban water management in the wake of COVID-19 and climate change. They were aided by Dr Kirsty Carden, Future Water Institute and Ms Shivali Jainer, CSE, who provided a brief overview of the training programme and a demonstration of ‘How to use Moodle’.
Experience-sharing webinars were organised on 15-16 July, 2020; where practitioners Dr Lloyd Fisher-Jeffes, Zutari Water, and Dr Kirsty Carden (15 July, 2020) and Ms Jane Eagle, City of Johannesburg (16 July, 2020) shared their valuable experiences on research and practices around benchmarking of Cape Town for Water Sensitive Cities Index, urban flooding and sustainable drainage practices in Johannesburg and other practices related to WSUDP. You can view the webinar recordings here.

Part A was also supported with a pre-training poll and questionnaire to adjudge the awareness and engagement of the participants. It was concluded with a Quiz assessment.

Virtual sessions under Part B were conducted on the Zoom Platform, aided by Zoom Polls and Breakout Rooms for group exercises.

Day 1 of the virtual sessions began with a quick introduction and a reflection session for Part A. Participants were divided into four groups and reflected on the learnings from Part A of the training. Following this, Dr Kirsty Carden introduced the applicability of WSUDP on regional scale, and opportunity areas for SUDS in South Africa. Further, Dr Kirsty and Dr Hildegard Rohr, i@consulting, shared the various datasets used for SUDS and WSUDP analysis, and the local sources of the datasets

Moving forward, Dr Mahreen Matto, CSE and Ms Shivali Jainer presented on the data requirements and analysis framework for planning RWH and stormwater harvesting, and Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Systems (DWWTS). Following this, Ms Shivali Jainer and Dr Hildegard Rohr gave an overview regarding the application of WSUDP at different scales. They also showcased various successful case studies on SUDS, RWH and DWWTS.

This was followed by a group exercise on Data Requirements. The participants were divided in four groups and allocated different land uses: Hospital, Hotel, Township and Office Complex, for which they had to ascertain the data requirements and analysis for planning WSUDP projects. The day was concluded with group presentations of these exercises.

Day 2 of the virtual training began with session on planning and designing techniques for RWH, SUDS and DWWTS by Ms Shivali Jainer and Dr Mahreen Matto. These sessions highlighted the design techniques, opportunity areas and thumb rules for planning and designing for WSUDP projects.

This was followed by a session on opportunities for WSUDP in existing laws, policy and framework in the South African context Dr Kirsty Carden and Dr Hildegard Rohr. They discussed the various laws pertaining to urban planning, water use, pollution and other areas, which provide opportunity for implementing WSUDP strategies.

Following this, Mr Dhruv Pasricha, CSE conducted a session on Operation and Maintenance (O&M), economics and stakeholders for WSUDP projects. He highlighted the various O&M activities for RWH and DWWTS systems, and provided input for the cost analysis and role of various stakeholders. This was followed by a moderated discussion forum session where the participants and trainers deliberated on various structural and non-structural opportunities and constraints regarding mainstreaming of WSUDP strategies.

The rest of the day was reserved for the Do-it-yourself exercise regarding planning for WSUDP in City X. Participants were divided in four groups and provided with city level data on Land Use, demography, meteorological and hydrogeological data, water usage pattern, etc. The participants were required to identify opportunity and to come up with WSUDP strategies at individual, neighbourhood and city/regional scale. The groups made final presentations, which was aided by a detailed discussion on the various recommendations given by the participants.

Following this, Dr Suresh Rohilla conducted an engaging feedback session of the training programme, aided by Dr Kirsty Carden and Ms Shivali Jainer. The virtual training was well received and the training was closed with a vote-of-thanks.  

For more information on the training programme you may contact the following training co-ordinators: 

For South Africa

Jay Bhagwan
Executive Manager: Water Use and Waste Management
Water Research Commission
Tel: +2712 7619000
Mobile:  +2783 2907232

Dr Kirsty Carden
Interim director: Future Water research institute
University of Cape Town
Tel: +27(0)21 650 5317 | +21 (0) 83 292 2647


Other African nations

Dr Suresh Kumar Rohilla
Senior Director & Academic Director (School of Water and Waste, Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute - AAETI)

Shivali Jainer
Programme Manager, Water Programme
+91-11-40616000 (Ext: 244)



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WRC, UCT & i@Consulting Trainers
Jayant Bhagwan
Executive Manager
Water Use and Waste Management, WRC
Prof. Neil Armitage
Deputy Director, Future Water Institute / Department of Civil Engineering (UCT)
Dr Kirsty Carden
Interim Director, Future Water Institute (UCT)
Dr Hildegard Rohr
Senior Manager
CSE Trainers
Dr Suresh Rohilla
Senior Director, CSE
Shivali Jainer
Programme Manager, CSE
Dr. Mahreen Matto
Programme Manager, CSE
Dhruv Pasricha
Sr Research Associate, CSE
“Very good course, really enjoyed it. The online Zoom idea was great, but did take some time to get used to. Time was kept well and all presenters were very good. Enjoyed the group activities!”,

By: Brian Gardner, Manager, Seaton Environmental
“It was an excellent programme and I hope there will be a way for it to be integrated into universities studying environmental sciences.”,

By: Mthulisi Mpofu, PhD Scholar, University of Fort Hare
“Thank you for your efforts and opening the eyes of a governance expert to the nitty gritty technical details”,

Fenna Oldendoerp, Technical Advisor, GIZ
“The trainers have knowledge of this field and this made the training so much enjoyable. The case studies really opened my eyes and to know that there is much that is taking place in South Africa. It will be an amazing to be part of this and help preserve water.”,

By: Ernest Rambau, Senior Scientist – Hydrogeologist, AECOM
“The inclusion of the calculations for rainfall run-off, s/water harvesting potential, sizing of structures etc. was really useful to understand. I also found the case studies very helpful. Overall, the course was really excellent.”,

By: Catherine Louise Bill, Control Environmental Officer, Dept. of Environmental Affairs & Development Planning