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.

Each month, we invite experts to share their research on a crucial aspect of groundwater through a lecture or panel discussion. Topics include greywater recycling, citizen action plans for preserving aquifers, managing rivers, lakes and springs, reviving indigenous infrastructure, private investments in sustainable uses of groundwater, flood water control, and access to clean water.

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July 27, 2017

Science for a Sustainable World

What role does scientific evidence play in helping us manage our natural resources? How can science inform better decision-making? In what instances do science and technology support each other and where do they come under conflict? These are just a few of the questions the Center Global Centers | Mumbai addressed through two public lectures that probed the role of science in driving sustainable development.

April 12, 2017

Preserving Groundwater, Recycling Greywater in Mumbai

Greywater recycling is a potential solution for urban areas to address their acute water shortages. It decreases the demand for freshwater, lowers the discharge of wastewater into the environment, and helps recharge the groundwater table. As part of its ongoing Groundwater Series, the Center invited Rakesh Kumar, Director, CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute to share his insights on how greywater reuse can be implemented in Mumbai.

September 27, 2016

Groundwater and Group Interest

Are rural communities willing to pay for clean drinking water? How does household income influence the decision making of citizens regarding prioritizing water for agriculture or drinking purposes? How do you provide water to people in a sustainable manner? What are the incentives for a community to manage its common water resources? Dr. Katherine Alfredo, a research scientist from Earth Institute, Columbia University presented her ongoing research on some of these complex questions in a Lecture and Discussion organized by the Mumbai Center.