Transforming Cities Through Water Sensitive Planning
Transforming Cities Through Water Sensitive Planning

Transforming Cities Through Water Sensitive Planning

Conditions for urban water systems are radically changing. Current water concerns, such as flooding and water shortages, are made worse by the effects of climate change, increased urbanization, and failing and antiquated infrastructure. Shortages and rehabilitation expenses that will be too high for cities to handle. According to the World Resource Institute’s 2013 worldwide water-stress rankings, India has a high level of water stress due to its 40–80% extraction to supply ratio. Over the past few decades, India has seen a sharp rise in the population living in cities. The current issue that plagues all towns and cities is the widening gap between the supply and demand for water, which puts strain on the availability of water resources.

To meet the irregular water supply needs, people either drill wells and tube wells on their properties or purchase water from private tankers that extract groundwater for commercial purposes. In addition, water sources are few, heavily contaminated, and subsidized for home use. There is no set price or criteria for extracting groundwater.

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The need for ecologically friendly alternatives is rising due to the widening gap between supply and demand as well as the worsening environmental conditions. To lessen our ecological footprint, it is critical to take on the issue of managing and wisely exploiting natural resources. Prudent use of water resources combined with a comprehensive approach to sustainability are necessary for sustainable water management.

Urban water management transition frameworkFigure 1: Urban water management transition framework

The current state of affairs makes it abundantly evident that careful planning and a reorientation of priorities are needed to achieve sustainable water management. Including water sensitivity in the planning and design stages of both new and existing developments can help to preserve the water cycle by controlling the amount of water available, storm water runoff, wastewater, and groundwater. It can also have positive effects on climate change adaptation by lowering temperatures.

Water-sensitive City Strategy

Water Sensitive Planning is a strategy that, by include the following in planning and developing, integrates and maximizes the use of available water sources and completes the water cycle. Strategies include:

Integrating water-cycle management

Figure 2: Integrating water-cycle management

  1. Safeguarding nearby waterbodies (ponds, lakes, and wetlands) in order to provide additional water sources.
  2. Recycling and reusing wastewater naturally (low cost/low energy) and not treating it as a liability.
  3. Storm-water management at public spaces, including open areas in cities through components of landscape design (e.g. vegetated swales and buffer strips, bio-retention systems).
  4. Increasing water-conservation techniques at different scales (buildings/campus), such as by implementing water-efficient fixtures, xeriscaping the landscape (planting native species), and utilizing water-efficient irrigation techniques, will lessen the strain on groundwater resources and the municipal supply system. Reducing water scarcity also requires rainwater harvesting (RWH) along with on-site water conservation.
  5. Increasing the social and ecological worth of a place by strategically planning and creating the built environment to address water challenges and community requirements.


Ar. Aditi Arora
School of Architecture and Planning
Lingaya’s Vidyapeeth
Colleges For Architecture In Delhi NCR

Lingaya’s Vidyapeeth is renowned as the top private university that leading architecture college for B.Arch, B.Plan, and M.Plan Courses. With a blend of innovative curriculum, expert faculty, and cutting-edge facilities, it fosters creativity and excellence in architectural education. The college’s focus on practical learning ensures students are well-prepared for rewarding careers in architecture and planning.


March 1, 2024

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