Interaction Between Urbanization and Water Management

  lake in a city Copyright: © LIH

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Klaus Baier

Senior Scientist

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+49 241 80 96771

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Interaction Between Urbanization and Water Management

Funding: DAAD

Program: A New Passage to India

Project term: 2010 to 2015

 

India’s cities are rapidly growing. According to the Census 2011, around one third of the population of 1.3 billion live in cities. Of these more than 400 million city dwellers around 23% live in one of India’s six largest urban agglomerations. With a population of over 7 million, Hyderabad is one of these mega-cities and it is expected to grow to approximately 9 million in 2025.

These urbanization processes pose tremendous pressure on water resources and have a negative influence on their availability and quality. Especially in developing and emerging countries, the hydrological and hydrogeological setting of each region is severely affected and deteriorates due to the growing urban sprawl. Deficiencies in the infrastructure, often in a state of disrepair and in other places not able to keep up with the city’s rapid growth, mismanagement by the administration, changes in rainfall patterns, a society characterized by huge inequalities and a high incidence of poverty as well as a large informal economy where many processes take place outside the formal regulatory environment entail specific problems for India’s mega-cities such as the contamination of groundwater due to canal leakages, ever increasing water demand leading to the exploitation of all available and often contested sources, the disposal of large amounts of untreated sewage water, fragmented access to water and sanitation by different groups of society and the flouting of environmental regulations by small workshops as well as large industries. Water management therefore represents one of the main challenges the cities are facing.

The research project “Interaction between Urbanization and Water Management” captures the wide range of topics and issues which need to be considered in order to ensure a sustainable water management in Hyderabad by taking an interdisciplinary approach integrating natural and social sciences. PhD and Master students from different backgrounds on the one side work on hydrogeological topics such as groundwater vulnerability and recharge, the transport of pollutants, hazardous brownfield sites and climate change, whereas other students look at water and the environment with regard to aspects relevant to social sciences and human geography. These aspects comprise Hyderabad’s urbanization process and land use patterns, the setup of its water utility, the diversity of urban lifestyles and their notion of environment as well as different aspects of the informal economy such as waste picking and informal housing arrangements.