New Delhi: Centre for Science and Environment, in partnership with the National Mission for Clean Ganga, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India have released a report titled 'Roadmap for Implementation of Water-Sensitive Design and Planning in Uttar Pradesh: Stormwater Harvesting in Parks and Open Spaces'. The report was released at an online event, the first of its kind, titled ‘water-sensitive Urban Design and Planning: Approach, Challenges and Potential’.
The programme’s inaugural session was addressed by Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, director-general, NMCG. Speaking on the occasion, he shared how the Namami Gange mission has evolved from a river cleaning project to a holistic river rejuvenation mission. “Water sensitive urban design and planning is one of the key focus areas of the Namami Gange mission. The NMCG, in association with other stakeholders, has released a ‘River sensitive master plan’ and ‘Guidelines to protect urban wetlands,” he said.
Rajiv Ranjan Mishra also pointed out that it is time to remind urban city planners and managers that if the city has to survive and thrive, they need to focus on urban water bodies. “Urbanisation is not watertight – rather, it is a diffused process and hence it is necessary to have a composite approach of centralised and decentralised strategies and a mix of options. The learnings from Namami Gange initiatives are applicable in other river basins as well,” he said.
The session was also addressed by Suresh Kumar Rohilla, senior director, Urban Water programme, CSE. Rohilla spoke about the key issues and challenges in the Ganga basin. “The urban built-up area has increased by approximately 44 per cent between now and 2005-06. This has widened the water demand-supply gap, leading to overexploitation of river stretches and aquifers and deterioration and encroachment of urban lakes and ponds. In such a scenario, cities need a water-sensitive approach.”
CSE’s report showcases the potential of WSUDP in select cities of UP - Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur, Prayagraj and Moradabad -- with the focus on stormwater harvesting in public spaces. The report provides a brief overview of the Ganga basin with respect to urban water management and focuses on the five cities which are located on the banks of the Ganga and its tributaries. The cities face complex issues related to urban flooding, over-exploited groundwater resources and encroachment of water bodies. They are also part of the national flagship programmes of AMRUT and Smart Cities, which provide an opportunity to mainstream WSUDP in these cities.
The report advocates the application of stormwater harvesting in parks and open spaces to tackle urban flooding issues and augment the groundwater resources of these cities. The report says that an estimated 2,624 million litres of stormwater can be harvested from parks and open spaces in these five cities, which is a missed opportunity and ends up as a liability for the city causing urban flooding.
The report proposes options and techniques of stormwater management in public open spaces and highlights the potential of upscaling such interventions -- allocating a mere 1-3 per cent of the area of these parks to stormwater harvesting structures based on WSUDP principles can work wonders, says Rohilla.