Water Access and Management

Water Access

This initiative serves as a knowledge platform for research and related programs on the sustainable management of water resources in the region.

Groundwater is a critical resource and India is the largest consumer of groundwater in the world.  A major part of its drinking water supply and irrigated agriculture is dependent on groundwater.  Climate change, overexploitation, pollution, unscientific planning of technology, and socioeconomic barriers are exacerbating groundwater depletion.  Consequently, an increasing number of the country’s aquifers are reaching unsustainable levels of exploitation. This will have serious implications for the environment, for the sustainability of agriculture, long-term food security, livelihoods, and economic growth.

As pressures on water resources increase globally, preserving and reviving aquifers as well as ensuring equitable access to groundwater will require new methods of water management.  Conservation and protection of water resources have been addressed by several national policies and by global bodies but challenges of effective planning and implementation persist.

The Mumbai Center’s work on groundwater takes an interdisciplinary approach, integrating human use and lived experience studies with scientific mapping, testing, and solutions.  It builds on the body of research done by the Columbia Water Center as well as faculty research in various disciplines, including architecture, public health, and engineering.  Areas of investigation include water mapping and visualization, community management and participatory governance of water resources, arsenic testing and clean water solutions, urban groundwater management, and flood response and planning.