ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Study of Indore City

Sustainability of Urban Water Supply and Sanitation in Dryland Areas

The attainment of financial, environmental and social sustainability of urban service provision has become problematic nowadays. Within urban services, the supply of water and its disposal after use have become very important because water has to be brought from distant sources and the waste water needs to be treated before being discharged into natural waterbodies, both of which are very costly propositions. In dryland areas, which are physically water scarce and constitute some 70% of the country, the problem becomes even more acute. The water supply and sanitation services in the city of Indore in Madhya Pradesh are critically reviewed, and suggestions are made for alternative measures for a more equitable and sustainable water management system.

The first United Nations (UN) Conference on Environment and Human Settlements held in Vancouver in 1972 recognised the need for adequate provision of sustainable and equitable access to municipal services required to make cities healthy and liveable (Mahadevia 2003). This was called the “brown agenda” (McGrahanan and Satterthwaite 2000). In 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development—constituted by the UN in 1983—put forward the concept of sustainable development as development which “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (UNO 1987). Subsequent to this, the issue of environmental sustainability and equity assumed importance, and in the field of urban development this was named the “green agenda” (McGrahanan and Satterthwaite 2000).

Reconciling the green and brown agenda and ensuring the attainment of financial, environmental and social sustainability and equity of services is currently the goal of urban development. Within urban infrastructure and services, water supply and sanitation (WSS) have become important aspects of planning and management, because water has to be brought from distant sources and waste water needs to be treated before being discharged into natural waterbodies or rivers. In dryland areas, which are physically water-scarce and constitute 70% of the country (Kumar et al 2008), the problem becomes more acute as the costs associated with setting up and running centralised WSS services are prohibitively higher. Given the financial, social and environmental problems that are increasingly plaguing centralised systems, new hybrid and decentralised systems have been developed and implemented across the world. One such system has been described below.

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Updated On : 8th Apr, 2019

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