Water Sustainability Assessment of Pune

16 Oct 2020

According to The World Bank, urban population in India was estimated to be 34.5% in the year 20191. There has been an increase in urbanization by almost 4% in the last decade due to growing migration of people from rural areas to cities in search of better job opportunities. It is estimated that at this rate by year 2030 and further in 2050, population of people living in Indian cities will go beyond 40% and 50% respectively2.

Pune report

With a growing population, expanding economies, urbanization, and changing lifestyles this has had a major impact on our economic, social and environmental wellbeing due to increasing pressure on already strained water resources. The rapid population growth along with rising consumption levels and pollution is contributing in increasing water insecurities in urban India. The depleting water resources on the one hand, rising water demand on the other, leave limited possibilities to augment the water supply in the coming future. Rising effects of climate change may further aggravate the situation by generating higher magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events and also by altering the precipitation volume & pattern, which shall have adverse effects on the available sources of fresh water supply.

Water stress has specifically magnified for metropolitan cities like Chennai, Delhi, Pune, etc. with depleting groundwater levels, widening of water demand and supply gap and rising pollution of water bodies to name a few.

In this context, Mahindra-TERI Centre of Excellence (MTCoE) carried out a study to assess the water sustainability in the cities of Chennai, Gurugram and Pune. This report shows the water sustainability assessment of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad cities, with study identifying potential risks associated with water sources, governance, infrastructure and demand & supply and provide recommendations to combat those risks.

MTCoE is a joint research initiative of Mahindra Lifespaces (MLDL) and TERI, which aims to develop science-based solutions for India’s future built environment, with a view to reduce the energy footprint of the real estate industry. Sustainable water use in habitats is one of the research activities being carrying out which includes both macro and micro level analysis in terms of water efficiency, conservation and management within a premise by end users.

The research was conducted by studying the past and existing data on water management, based on which projections for the year 2025 on potential risks were computed. The results of the study are summarized as follow:

S.No. Parameters affecting water management Year 2011 Year 2019 Year 2025 Potential risks to water sustainability
Pune City (PMC area)
1 Land use type - Built Up (in km2) 155.9 182.55 205.49 Increased intensity of floods during monsoons due to reduction in catchment area with shrinking water bodies and green cover because of built up expansion, encroachment and waste disposal.
2 Land use type - Water Bodies (in km2) 4.1 4.02 3.97
3 Population
(in lakhs)
31,24,458 37,29,117 42,67,485 Increased burden on water resources and water supply infrastructure due to rapid rise in population with increased water demand.
4 Domestic water demand (in MLD) 605 745.8 853.5
5 Waste water generation
(in MLD)
586 596.6 682.8 Increased discharge of untreated sewage into natural waterways degrading its quality due to inadequate sewage treatment capacities.  
6 Sewage treatment plant capacity (in MLD) 527 567 567
 
Pimpri Chinchwad City (PCMC area)
1 Land use type - Built Up (in km2) 91.42 138 187.94 Increased intensity of floods during monsoons due to reduction in catchment area with shrinking water bodies and green cover because of built up expansion, encroachment and waste disposal.
2 Land use type - Water Bodies (in km2) 3.18 2.99 2.86
3 Population
(in lakhs)
17,29,359 26,59,149 34,97,819 Increased burden on water resources and water supply infrastructure due to rapid rise in population with increased water demand.
4 Domestic Water demand (in MLD) 294 439 577
5 Waste water generation (in MLD) 296 351.2 461.6 Increased discharge of untreated sewage into natural waterways degrading its quality due to inadequate sewage treatment capacities.  
6 Sewage treatment plant capacity (in MLD) 261 317 317

In addition to this, the region is expected to experience an unpredictable rainfall pattern over the coming years due to rapidly changing climate, thus adding up to the rising flood risk. This would also result in fluctuating water storage levels in the reservoirs, thus widening the water demand & supply gap due to decreased water availability from natural water resources during dry months.

The study also highlights the concern related to unavailability of updated groundwater data thus leading to inefficient regulation of groundwater use by the administration, resulting in continuous exploitation.

The study integrates both macro and micro level (water audits of residential townships in Pimpri Chinchwad) analysis in this assessment, which shows the prevalence of unsustainable water use pattern by the end user, resulting in increased water wastage.

And therefore in order to combat these rising urban water issues, there is a need to enhance the sustainable water flow and management in cities. The key recommendations suggested for sustainable water management based on the identified potential risks are summarised here:

S.No. Domain Recommendations
1 Environment
  • Development of city flood mitigation and adaptation plan.
  • Revival of degraded water bodies (lakes and rivers)
  • Ensuring no encroachments and waste disposal in water bodies
2 Socio-Demographic
  • Development of potential water sources like – rainwater harvesting systems and reuse of treated waste water for bridging the water demand & supply gap
3 Governance
  • Devolution of functions for groundwater management to avoid overlapping and establishing a transparent and participatory mechanism in place
  • Stringent legal measures on ground water extraction and its strict implementation
  • Identification and filling up of data gaps related to groundwater use by conducting detailed surveys
  • Capacity building and training of existing and new recruits of government staff, municipalities, boards and other parastatal working in water supply and management, to strengthen work practices and thereby improving their overall performance
  • Overhauling water pricing norms by developing financial incentives like rebates on water bills and penalties for water wastage & leakage
4 Infrastructure
  • Refurbishing the old water supply network
  • Expansion of water and sewerage network pan city
  • 100% coverage of metered connection across the city to ensure fair revenue collection and controlled water usage.
5 Consumption pattern
  • Sensitization of user on water saving measures
  • Robust stakeholder involvement

More such studies for various cities across the country should be conducted facing water stress conditions, using the approach which integrates all the aspects such as source management, water/wastewater/storm water infrastructure etc., like the one followed in the study of this report.

The report envisages the future of the water sustainability in Pune and concerns related to it. It is expected that the report will have the following impacts:

  • Initiation of the discussion by the concerned stakeholders on the potential risks to water sustainability in the cities of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad and develop the risk mitigation plans accordingly.
  • Developing policies and designing measures towards protecting the regions ecosystems in order to strengthen both the natural and urban water flow system.
  • Propagation and adoption of water conservation practises like rainwater harvesting, waste water recycle and reuse etc. in order to meet the rising water demand due to rapid demographic changes.
  • Strengthening of the water governance structure and administration by strict rules enforcement, ensuring no overlapping of functions, establishing a transparent and participatory mechanism through capacity building and training programmes.
  • Emphasis on development of water efficient infrastructure with new and innovative technologies.
  • Enhanced water use efficiency by the end user.

Footnotes:

[1] https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.URB.TOTL.IN.ZS?end=2019&locations=IN&start=1960
[2] https://www.thestatesman.com/business/urban-population-india-may-go-beyond-50-2050-mohua-secretary-1502757868.html

Themes
Tags
Water resources
Water management
Sustainable Habitat
Urban development
Partners
Mahindra Lifespaces
Stakeholders
Civil society/Grassroots
Consultants
Researchers/Post graduates
Policy Makers