Work Overview: Water Management

The fundamental principle underlying CSE’s water management programme is that the looming water crisis facing the country is not primarily due to a lack of water, but rather arises from mismanagement of water resources. The centralized management paradigm has kept the citizens out and taken away their sense of responsibility towards managing their water.

Given the growing population and water demand, the government will find it extremely difficult to raise financial resources to meet the growing water needs as well as to clean up the increasing levels of polluted water.  The answers to meeting the challenge of the water crisis lie in a participatory, efficient and sustainable water management paradigm. Every person, household, company or community can contribute to this effort by mobilizing finances and labor. Thus, water management, from water conservation to water pollution, must become everybody’s business.

As the source of all water rain is decentralized, CSE advocates that the management of water is best undertaken at local levels, by the people, in tune with local physical and natural landscapes. CSE also says that as India’s rainy season is for just about 100 days in the year, we need to focus on capturing and storing as much of the rain as possible. The country should use its traditional wisdom of rainwater harvesting together with future technological advances to prevent pollution and to treat and reuse polluted water.

Given, CSE’s efforts and work undertaken on rainwater harvesting, decentralized water management, septage management, wetlands/ water bodies management and revival, river pollution, etc. In 2009, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has designated CSE as a Centre of Excellence (CoE)  for Sustainable Water Management in urban areas.

The thematic areas in Urban Sector are:

Excreta Matters

Water Sensitive Urban Design & Planning


Lakes & Waterbodies
Over past decade focus of programme has been on capacity building of policy makers, practitioners, regulators and all other non government sector – consultants, researchers, academics involved in water management. CSE has emerged as a capacity building hub with 5000+ alumni in urban water and sanitation who have benefitted from workshops, short training and knowledge conclaves organized by the programme. In 2018, the School of Water and Waste set up – a key constituent of CSE’s Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute (AAETI) at Nimli , Rajasthan is established as part of bigger agenda to build capacities among practitioners and offers short 1/ 2 week long residential trainings, seminar , workshops, webinar, knowledge conclave bringing together  as well as online courses. A crucial component of School is referral laboratory on septage management to develop tools, protocols for faecal sludge testing and characterization) including, efficiency of various small scale wastewater systems.

In addition to working in the urban areas, CSE has an active Rural Water Programme that works to stimulate the development of policies and strategies for sustainable, participatory and equitable water management in rural India. CSE has been designated as a National Key Resource Centre to undertake capacity building programmesresearch, and awareness creation in context to clean water supply and sanitation by the  Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MoDWS).



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