Water Security in Peri-Urban South Asia

Adapting to Climate Change and Urbanisation

Discussion Papers

Peri-urban Water Security in a Context of Urbanization and Climate Change: A Riview of Concepts and Relationships

The Peri-urban water security Project discussion paper series aims at having a collection of research papers relevant to the concepts and processes involved in the project that represent preliminary ideas circulated to encourage discussion and comments.

First in the series, this paper by Dr. Vishal Narain, seeks to contribute to developing a shared understanding of some of the core concepts related to water security in a peri-urban context. Towards the end of the paper, an analytic framework is proposed to guide the research and seeks to provide some common analytic framework to facilitate convergence across the research locations.

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Water Security in Peri-urban Khulna: Adapting to Climate Change and Urbanization

This paper is an assessment of how urban and peri-urban residents of Khulna city in Bangladesh have been suffering from problems related to water access and water in-security due to urbanization and climate change impacts. It dwells on the water related vulnerabilities of various livelihood groups in the peri-urban areas of Khulna. Further, the degradation of river water quality resulting from urban activities such as wastewater discharge and dumping of solid waste, and the vulnerabilities due to climate change are also addressed.
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Urbanization, climate change and water security: A study of vulnerability and adaptation in Sultanpur and Jhanjhrola Khera in peri-urban Gurgaon, India

This paper describes how urbanization and climate change shape water insecurity in two villages, namely, Sultanpur and Jhanjhrola Khera in periurban Gurgaon in the North-West Indian state of Haryana. Using ethnographic and participatory approaches, it documents the people's lived experience of a changing climate and water insecurity. While urbanization and climate variability alter the availability of water, the effects of this are aggravated by a complex interaction of caste, class, gender and locational factors. The most vulnerable are those whose identities are constructed at the intersection of these factors. The paper then describes the wide range of social, economic and institutional factors that shape the periurban residents' adaptive strategies.
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The Periurban Water Security Problématique: A case study of Hyderabad in Southern India

The recent Census of India (2011) throws some very interesting facts on the process of urbanisation in India. For the first time since Independence in 1947, the absolute increase in population is more in urban than in rural areas. The level of urbanization increased from 27.81% in 2001 to 31.16% in 2011 and the proportion of rural population declined from 72.19 per cent in 2001 to 68.84 per cent in 2011. With the increase in urban areas, there is a pressure on basic infrastructure including access to water for both urban and periurban locations. Most Indian cities have formal water supply only for few hours a day and only in limited areas. The big question is - where are the rest of the water requirements coming from? For much of India’s ‘water history’, the focus has been on large scale surface water projects to provide access focusing more on irrigation and neglecting sources within the city and in the periurban areas. Over time an enormous informal groundwater market has arisen in several cities to bridge the demand-supply gap. This water demand, therefore, is met through supplies of water through informal water markets. Water is sourced from the periurban regions which are usually richer in surface and groundwater. This paper focuses on the change process as witnessed by periurban areas with a case study of the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. Due to a large influx of population mainly due to expansion of the city as an Information Technology (IT) hub, the periurban areas have been losing out on water access to the more powerful urban population with high paying capacity. This paper presents an overview of a trend that is leading to immense water insecurities due to a combination of issues –urban growth induced water scarcity; myopic planning that is not based on available environmental resources; lack of recognition of community water rights and lack of regulation for the protection of diminishing surface water resources.
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Gendered and Caste Spaces in Household Water Use: A Case of Aliabad Village in Peri-urban, Hyderabad, India

This paper deals with the ways in which gender and caste identities marginalise particular groups from access to water in a village in periurban Hyderabad, India. It shows how the intersection of gender, caste and water issues determine allocation and access to water at the household level, in a village influenced by rapid urbanisation. Relying on a primary survey that collected gender and caste disaggregated data, this paper shows socially differentiated perceptions for water access and use and how they shape vulnerability to water insecurity and adaptation. The gender and caste inequity in access to water in the village is not an isolated case but part of the larger process of ‘apolitical’ water reforms in India that chooses to ignore gender and caste inequalities and therefore misses to reach the last person.
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Adapting to Peri-urban Water Insecurity Induced by Urbanization and Climate Change, Kathmandu, Nepal

This paper describes the implication of growing urbanization in combination with climatic variabilities on water security and adaptation strategies of the people in peri-urban landscape of Kathmandu valley. Through multiple series of focus group discussions and key informant's interviews, the study found that the entire households at Lubhu depend on public stand posts with water supplied for few hours a day. The hydro-meteorological data analysis showed the increasing trend of temperature but clear pattern in precipitation was not found. However, people perceived the changes in both precipitation and temperature and impacts on their livelihood. People have envisioned development of filtration system to treat water from another source, however for now,they have been fetching water from spring sources in neighbouring VDCs and dug wells during the days with no water supply in stand posts. Farmers have been adapting to water scarcity for cultivating agricultural crops by switching to less water demanding crops, leaving land fallow and even by deviating towards off-farm activities to be more resilient to increasing water scarcity. The concern for sustainable water management is growing among the community however, strong dedication and unity among the communities is essential to ensure the water security in the village.
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Groundwater Extraction: Implications on Local Water Security of Peri-urban, Kathmandu, Nepal

The rapid and haphazard urbanization in Kathmandu valley and expansion of built-up area to the peripheral rural landscapes has resulted to formation of Periurban areas which are now themselves transforming into urban form. This paper examines how the increasing urban water demand has put unprecedented pressure on groundwater resources in the peri-urban areas of Kathmandu valley. Based on the semi-structured interviews with local people, focus group discussions and key informants interviews, the study found that water security at Jhaukhel is closely associated with groundwater and the dependency of local people on groundwater has increased over the years. The implications of the groundwater extraction coupled with sand mining in the area have been manifested in form of declining groundwater table and drying of traditional water sources. Despite the growing awareness among the local people on the consequences of depleting groundwater table, in absence of strict regulatory mechanism, the exploitation of groundwater has been adding threat to the local eco-hydrology of the area and subjecting the local community to water insecurity.
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People's Experience and Facts of Changing Climate: Impacts and Responses, Kathmandu, Nepal

Apart from modeling and quantitative analysis of climate change, it is also important to understand what local communities feel about climate change and how they are affected by it and are responding to those impacts in order to bring new policies and programmes in the particular area. This paper tries to analyze the connection between perceived changes in different attributes of climate change by the local people residing in peri-urban areas of Kathmandu Valley and the results obtained from analysis of recorded temperature and rainfall data of seven different hydro-meteorological stations located in different parts of Kathmandu Valley. Besides, the study also explores the impact of climate change on the local people and their responses in order to enhance their resilience. The study is based on focus group discussions with communities and household survey whereas the analysis of hydro-meteorological data is done in R software. The perception of most of the local people on changes in temperature is almost in line with the recorded long term climatic trend whereas the perception of decreasing monsoon and non-monsoon rainfall is not matched with the recorded data as it did not find any long term clear visible pattern of rainfall. However, out of seven stations, four illustrated decreasing trend in number of rainy days in non-monsoon and three stations demonstrated decreasing trend of rainy days in the monsoon period. People have been facing several impacts from these changes such as decrease in water sources, decrease in agricultural crop production, increase in insect-pest attack and increase in weeds in agricultural crops. Local people are responding to these impacts basedon their own skills and traditional knowledge. Household level water management, adoption of innovative technologies in agricultural practice, construction of wells, changing cropping pattern and systems and occupational diversification are some important responses they are adopting to adapt to the impacts of changes in climate.
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Dynamics of Rural Water Flows to Quench Urban Thirst: Implications on Local Water Security, Kathmandu, Nepal

The rapid and haphazard urbanization in Kathmandu and expansion of builtup area to the peripheral rural landscapes has resulted in formation of the peri- urban areas which are now themselves transforming into urban forms, and simultaneously, water diverted or transferred from these areas is rapidly increasing. This paper describes the changing modes of urban oriented water flow from the peri-urban landscape of Kathmandu and the implications of this water transfer on water security of peri-urban areas.

Through series of semi-structured interviews, formal and informal discussions with local people and key informant interviews, the study found that Matatirtha, a peri-urban area, has traditionally been a source of water for the domestic water demand in Kathmandu. However, the social and economic developments have induced a paradigm shift in urban water transfer from the area and promoted the economic benefits as a way of compensating the loss of local water resources. Moreover, the increasing opportunities of economic benefits through water market in absence of regulatory mechanism has facilitated exploitation of resources and therefore created a need for strong mechanism, promoting insights for sustainable water resource management to prepare a water secure area.
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Use of a Shared River by Urban and Peri-Urban Residents: Water Use Conflicts and Adaptation Measures, Kulna, Bangladesh

This study was conducted to assess how urban and peri-urban residents of Khulna have been affected by the Mayur River through its use and abuse, and to explore adaptation measures. To complete the study, primary data was collected through field surveys, stakeholders' consultation, focused group discussion, key informant interview and water quality analysis. Result shows that the Mayur plays a very important role by meeting the agricultural water demand; domestic water demand and water demand for capture and culture of fisheries for livelihoods. However, urban residents use the river as a dumping site for discharging solid waste. River encroachment through various means and practices is also a regular event. Analysis of salinity and tidal water level indicates that salinity intrusion would further increase due to sea level rise induced by climate change. Water and wastewater quality reveals that the river water is extremely polluted to support aquatic life and livelihood services. Physico-chemical parameters, DO, EC, TDS, Na+, Mg2+, PO43- and salinity exceed the recommended limits for drinking and irrigation set by the DoE and WHO. These overall situations often initiate water use conflicts. Finally, we discussed the current water management practices and adaptation for long term management of the Mayur.
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Salinity Progression at Khulna: Anthropogenic or Climate Change Induced?

Surface water salinity, being accentuated by the reduction in the dry season upland flows, now reaches as far as Khulna – a coastal city of Banglaesh highly exposed to climate change impacts. The projected sea level rise due to climate change would further aggravate the situation with the probably increased spatial coverage and temporal duration of salinity. Amid the lack of studies relatively attributing to causes of salinity intrusion, this study analytically assesses the role of regional anthropogenic interventions in one hand and global climate change induced sea level rise on the other as the causes of salinity progression in Khulna. Analysis of the long-term trends in tidal water level, upland flow and river water salinity, indicates that regional human interventions, both in and outside the country, have contributed more in hydromorphological changes in the region than the climate change induced sea level rise leading to salinity intrusion in Khulna.
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Power, social capital and differential vulnerabilities: A study of water access in a peri-urban village of Haryana

This article deals with the subject of water access in a peri-urban village of Haryana. It describes how power and social capital influence the flow of water. It argues that political power is a significant determinant influencing water security and those communities which lack the power to access water use social capital as an adaptive tool to enhance their water security.

The paper is organized as follows: Section 1 focuses on the introduction to the concept and theme; it gives an introduction to the place of study and briefly states the methodology used to conduct the research. Section 2 takes a historical perspective; it focuses on alienation suffered by lower castes; it discusses the plight of the lower castes in earlier times and also mentions the ways through which the upper caste communities dominated and influenced the access to water of the dalits. Section 3 discusses the current water supply situation of the village, especially focusing on the role of village politics in influencing water supply, followed by adaptive responses of the social groups which are not satisfied with the water supply situation. Section 4 highlights the role of social capital in shaping adaptation to water related problems, for drinking as well as water use in irrigation. It describes the types of social capital that exist in the field and the influence of this in mediating water scarcity. Lastly, in section 5 the paper presents a set of conclusions, that can be drawn and a few recommendations that shall be helpful to policy makers, researchers and academicians.
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Changing environment – changing waters: An analysis of drinking water access of vulnerable groups in peri-urban Sultanpur

This article presents a study on inequities in drinking water access in the periurban village of Sultanpur, Haryana, India. It is based on three months of field research, in which mainly qualitative data were collected through participatory observation and interviews. The study analyses drinking water access of vulnerable groups in this peri-urban village, and the difficulties and inequity they face in this. By using the hydrosocial cycle as an analytical tool for this, water access is taken to be constituted by both social and environmental factors, with power relations having an important role in this. For both drinking water resources in the village, groundwater and a piped network supply network, processes of exclusion and inequitable access were uncovered. Significantly, these occur along lines of social identity of caste and gender. Economic and geographic factors play an important role as well. Lower caste and/or poor households face most difficulty in organizing water access. Periurban developments will likely create new vulnerabilities in water access, in which the poor and landless face the largest risks.
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Taking the road less taken: Reorienting the state in periurban water management

This paper describes the intervention strategy to improve water security in two periurban villages, Sultanpur and Jhanjhrola Khera, in periurban Gurgaon. Most approaches to improving natural resource management in periurban contexts focus on mobilising the community; little attention is paid to reorienting the state or strengthening the user-bureaucracy interface. This paper describes the process that was followed to reorient civic agencies engaged in the provisioning of water and to break what is popularly called the 'anarchy syndrome' in water management. The paper argues that for periurban areas that suffer from lack of institutional cover and weak responsiveness of service providers, providing platforms for direct engagement between water users and service providers can be a key tool for improving water security. It can build community resilience in the face of climate change and urbanization, both of which threaten periurban water security: the key is not just to augment water supply physically or technologically, but to build the community's capacity to ask for better water supply and to negotiate better with service providers.
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