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Collective action against water insecurity in peri-urban areas: learnings from the global south

IWRA World Water Congress 2017 - Cancun Mexico
C. Stakeholder participation
Author(s): Arvind Lakshmisha
Arvind Lakshmisha
Public Affairs Centre

Keyword(s): Water security, Climate Change Scorecard, Stakeholder participation, urbanization,


Water security is a pressing issue in most cities in the global south, this dilemma is often caused due to lack of planning in addition to unplanned expansion of cities. This situation is further aggravated by the impacts of climate change, such as variation in precipitation and increase in temperature. Besides urban areas the regions on the fringe often termed peri-urban, bear the brunt of this unplanned expansion due to overexploitation of groundwater, migration, industrialisation in addition to unscientific management of wastewater. It is agreed by researchers that peri-urban regions are caught between rural and urban and are often a neglected by policy decision makers. These areas are dynamic in nature, both in terms of demographics and flow of resources. Peri-urban areas act as industrial hubs and as dumps for city refuse, which contaminate the resource base including, water resources. In addition to this dynamism, climate related changes have rendered the local communities vulnerable not only to water scarcity but to security as well. Literature review highlighted that there has been limited research of peri-urban areas in India, and mostly concentrated to certain pockets across India. There have been no visible studies in the peri-urban around the city of Bangalore, known as silicon valley of India. Hence, this study can be marked as a pioneering study.

In this regard, Public Affairs Centre in collaboration with the Environment Management Research and Policy Institute, Government of Karnataka is undertaking a short study on assessing water security in peri-urban areas around the city of Bangalore. This paper provides an overview of the ongoing study which uses a social accountability tool – Climate Change Scorecard (CCSC), to gather stakeholder experiences and provide scientific evidences to decision makers.

The study is based around Bidadi, an industrial hub, located in the periphery of Bangalore. The study includes three phases, an exploratory phase including household surveys; analytical phase, comprising of vulnerability ranking of water resources using fuzzy cognitive maps (FCM) accumulating stakeholder experiences on the impact of urbanization, and climate change on water security; and a synthesis phase, includes modeling vulnerability to identify and plan for improving water security. The initial results from the survey and time series analysis of climate data  highlighted an observable change in temperature precipitation patterns. Analysis of the survey results indicated that, though water is available, it is highly contaminated. This was further augmented using FCM, combining fuzzy logic and cognitive mapping based on graph theory. Cognitive maps drawn with the help of stakeholder, revealed urbanisation though has improved their economic conditions, has resulted in water scarcity, decrease in quality and quantity for consumption. These maps were then modeled on different policy options available and shared with the wider stakeholders to prioritise options through a dialogue platform to incorporate and streamline communication, interactions and coordination between stakeholders to improve water security. This study is based on the ideology of collective action through the use of social accountability tools to help bridge the gap between scientific research and policy making through stakeholder participation.

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