Safe Water Network Presents Initiatives for ‘Making City Water Positive through City Water Balance Plans’ at Stockholm International Water Institute: World Water Week 2021

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Safe Water Network, the internationally renowned NGO, and USAID presented their insights on ‘Making City Water Positive through City Water Balance Plans’ at the Stockholm International Water Institute: World Water Week 2021.

The panellist at the session included D. Thara, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Anand Rudra, Senior Adviser – WASH, USAID, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, M Dana Kishor, Managing Director, Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) and Samrat Basak, Director Urban Water Program, World Resources Institute. Poonam Sewak, Vice President, Program & Partnerships, Safe Water Network India, presented the e-toolkit Making Cities Water Positive through City Water Balance Plans and moderated the session.

Due to rapid urbanisation, lack of infrastructure, and climate change, cities continue to be water-stressed while the water is being transported from distant regions at high costs. The session presented the case study from megapolis Hyderabad on the steps taken to make it ‘Water Positive through City Water Balance Plan’ (CWBP). The e-CWBP Toolkit was also launched at the session. This toolkit acts as a decision support system for the municipalities and sector stakeholders to implement the Government of India’s $40 billion Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban’s) programme initiative +4,000 cities water positive.

The informative session also drew attention to the social and technological interventions to address water scarcity’s problems through demand management, increased water availability through recharge, reduced non-revenue water, creating infrastructure for reuse of treated wastewater, and citizen participation.

D. Thara, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, MoHUA, said, “The scarcity of water has always been a concern when it comes to survival and livelihood. We need to encourage all stakeholders to participate actively and make water everyone’s business to create water-secure cities. Women especially should be involved and lead water demand management.”

Vinay Pratap Singh, Director AMRUT, MoHUA, said, Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban) will focus on making cities water-secure and providing tap water connection in every urban household. Central assistance for projects, IEC, and incentives for reforms on water security will help achieve the target. The e-toolkit on Making Cities Water Positive through City Water Balance Plans can support ULBs in data-driven decision-making during project implementation.

On behalf of USAID, said, “We feel privileged that we got the opportunity to share this informative platform at the session. USAID is committed to supporting programmes that ensure every citizen should have access to safe drinking water. We would like to extend every possible support to the Government of India in implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban’s) programme.”

Poonam Sewak, Vice President – Program & Partnerships, Safe Water Network India, said, “Safe Water Network with the USAID supported SEWAH programme – Sustainable Enterprises for Water and Health partnered with Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board to develop evidence-based strategies for the City Water Balance Plan. This e-toolkit is a decision support system tool that provides guidance to address water security holistically through data-driven solutions. It can be adapted to different and unique contexts in cities and helps manage the finite water resources.”

Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, said, “Cities have to learn to live with rivers, build with nature and make room for rivers.”

M Dana Kishor, HMWSSB, said, “Hyderabadis rapidly expanding and extending piped water supply to the residents beyond the city in the peripheral areas is made possible by the vision and investment in the water sector by the State Government, support of the Union Government, and addressing core water scarcity problems through social and technological interventions. The e-toolkit ‘Making Cities Water Positive’ assists gap identification and provides knowledge translation strategies for making water-secure cities.”

Samrat Basak, Director Urban Water Program Water Resources Institute, added that “initiatives like City Water Balance Plans can guide urban development to enhance water-harvesting, protect natural infrastructure assets, restore and rejuvenate degraded water bodies to make cities water secure. We must work together to make water available to each citizen, for agriculture and the industry.”