Fast expanding urban centers in India engulf rural hinterlands, replacing wetlands and green spaces with built-up areas, in turn leading to increasing water scarcity & compromised water quality in the new peri-urban areas. This contradicts the historical scenario when NBS rooted in rainwater harvesting used to constitute the most reliable local solution for water supply, often linking the urban and rural spaces in a continuum. Unfortunately, the value of NBS in general & rainwater harvesting in urban development has been lost. Even under current policies/programs, such as AMRUT, water supply & development of green areas appear to be separately considered without requisite concern for water sustainability.
This case study aims to undertake: 1) policy evaluation of current approaches to urban development in India from the perspective of NBS in the peri-urban; 2) participatory research on rainwater harvesting in & around the cities of Udaipur (in Rajasthan) and Nalanda (in Bihar). Both these cities together with their rural hinterlandshad a rich history of rainwater harvesting (centralized state-based as well as decentralized community-based) but today increasingly face water quality and quantity challenges. The study will primarily help generate evidence-based knowledge on the challenging facing and the potential offered by rainwater harvesting as an option for peri-urban water sustainability(vis-à-vis conventional grey infrastructure-based approaches). It will also explore the role of different stakeholders in taking forward such integrated approaches.
Encroached Govardhan Sagar Lake in peri-urban Udaipur, Rajasthan
An 'ahar' harvesting the monsoon runoff for agriculture and groundwater recharge in Bihar (Photo: Om Prakash Singh)