Urban resilience in a land of flood and drought

Urban resilience in a land of flood and drought

This is an excerpt from a newly published article on Atavist. To read the full article please click here

By Will Bugler

India has a tempestuous relationship with water. The seasonal monsoon winds drive dramatic changes to the country’s weather systems, blowing in wet weather from the south-west, or dry from the north-east. The rainfall brought by these weather systems does not fall uniformly across the country, with some areas suffering intense droughts, while others experience severe floods. The dualism of overabundance and scarcity of water presents huge challenges for the country’s growing urban population, whose health, homes and livelihoods are increasingly threatened by India’s water woes.

India’s urban population is expanding rapidly. Over the last twenty years, it has risen from 217 million to more than 377 million, and the pace of urbanisation shows no sign of abating. In fact, according to some, India may be on the brink of an ‘urban revolution’ that could mean that over 40 percent of its population – more than 600 million people – lives in cities by the 2030s.

Water issues affect India’s burgeoning cities in several ways. Surging demand for drinking, sanitation and industry, is putting pressure on scarce resources, while at the same time, the impact of severe flood events is felt most keenly by the poorest city dwellers, who often live in poor quality housing, and in low-lying areas. So what can be done to manage urban water resources in a land of floods and droughts?

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Make sure you also read the first article of this series “Setting India’s Cities on the Road To Resilience“.


Cover photo from Road to Resilience Vol 1: Taru Leading Edge

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