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    Assessing Resilience (2254 words)

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    Operative Framework

    Primary Study Survey of the low rise- independent of households of the selected sites to understand the individual resilience scenario. Defining the parameters for study of water resourcing of the households Defining the parameters for site selection Documentation of resilience techniques of the households through interviews and observations. Secondary Study Understanding the water resourcing and management system of Bhopal, its demand and supply. 9.

    Secondary Study

    Demand Total water demand as per city agency (PHED) – 281 MLD Per capita water demand as per PHED – 176 LPCD Total water demand as per CPHEEO @ 175 LPCD – 280 MLD Sources and supply Water sources – Upper Lake, Kolar Dam Water sourced from surface sources – 88% Water sourced from ground sources – 12% Total water supplied – 266 MLD Per capita supply – 166 LPCD Leakage loss – 35% Actual supply (after deducting leakage losses) – 173 MLD Per capita supply (after deducting leakage losses) 108 LPCD Population served by water supply system – 67% Per capita supply in the served area NA Demand-supply gap (after leakage losses) – 108 MLD (Source- Anon 2011, 71-City Water-Excreta Survey, 2005-06, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi)

    Primary Study

    Parameters for Studying the Water Resourcing of the Dwelling Units

    Primary Source Type & Technique,Quantity and Ownership Secondary Source (if any) Criteria of selection of particular technique Feasibility of self dependent water sourcing methods. Access to infrastructure Facilitations by State. Knowledge of other techniques. Dependency on state. Involvement in Social or Communal approaches to tackle the problem.

    Parameters for Site Selection

    Proximity to the source of water and distribution center. Independent Structures (as owners have greater degree of say in resilience measures reflected in the built) Varied economic background

    Study Sites

    Areas selected for the survey, present a homogeneous built fabric – Two story independent houses. Even though the economic backgrounds vary, in this case, the owner still has a great say in its resilience strategies making them ideal for this study.

    Kohefiza, Bhopal

    A varied economic background independent dwelling unit to understand different resilient strategies adhered by them. (Source- Google Earth 2018)

    Shahpura, Sector-C, Bhopal

    Middle class dwelling units to examined for their resilient strategies (Source- Google Earth 2018)

    Arera Colony, Sector-e7, Bhopal

    Upper class dwelling units (Source- Google Earth 2018)

    Data Collection and Deductions

    Primary Source of Water Supply

    In all the three areas, the dependency of the residents is high on the Bhopal municipality for their water needs. The use of community means was restricted to weaker sections of the population (Kohefiza). Private borewells were the second most preferred means water sourcing. Primary source of water Action chosen in case of water scarcity Respondents consider the municipality as the major custodian for water management of the city. Even though they might reach out to tankers, it is still a temporary solution. On an individual level, their resilience can improve.

    Frequency and Duration of Water Supply

    As per the data, 18.7% of the dataset receive water on alternate days and a mere 6.3% have supply twice a day. While 75% receive water on a daily basis. The average duration of receiving water is 75 min. Hence, the majority of the set has an adequate supply of water on a daily basis.

    Supplementary Source of Water Supply

    Most residents across Bhopal had their self-supported means as private borewell. These are typically the residents who previously chose Bhopal municipality as their primary source. Self-supported include borewell, tanker. community means like a pump, borewell, tanks. Supplementary source of water.

    Rain Water Harvesting

    Rainwater harvesting Of all the residences surveyed, 12.9% of them harvested rainwater. Most residents were either unaware of its importance or were handicapped as to how to retrofit their houses for this sustainable practice.

    The scarce population that harvested rainwater mainly did groundwater recharge. Storage of rainwater was rare. 47% of the surveyed households were uncertain about the water scarcity that the city is facing. This is regardless of the articles published every summer. This correlates to the fact that most households don’t harvest rainwater. This insensitivity towards water scarcity is an impediment towards individual resilience which in turn could impact the urban resilience.


    The city depends primarily on its municipality to cater to its water needs, shortage in annual rainfall has to depletion of its local water sources (i.e. Upper laker and Kaliasot dam). There have been provisions to bring drinking water from the Narmada river. While 75% of households receive water daily by the municipality, every household had a “line of defense” when it came to water scarcity. Be it borewells, tankers or municipality, each had a certain preparedness towards water crisis. This shows that these households are resilient towards water scarcity in terms of capacities.

    Analysis of Sufficiency of Municipal Water Supply

    The selected sites were surveyed for a total of 30 samples, documenting the sourcing of water and dependence on the municipality. Of the surveyed samples, the data collected for those whose primary source of water supply is municipal supply is collated and analyzed for its sufficiency on the parameters of – Number of residents, adopted standard for per capita water consumption, received volume of water and frequency of supply.

    The comparison between standard requirement and supplied volume, quantify sufficiency of municipal water supply. The logic of is as follows: Number of Residents x 135 LPCD (Adopted Standard) = DEMAND Flow rate from BMC x Duration of supply = VOLUME RECEIVED Comparison with Frequency of water supply Per capita demand multiplied with the number of residents gave standard requirement.

    On the other hand, flow rate multiplied with the frequency of water supply gives volume received. Comparison between the received volume and standard volume informs of the sufficiency of the water received from the BMC. As per the analysis, 76% of households had inadequate water supply by the BMC. This resonates with increasing dependence on groundwater – to having borewell as a line of defense.


    While both the city and households displayed resilience, they were far from being sustainable. “The water table has gone down by 4-6 m between 1993 and 2003. Quality is also an issue, as nitrate concentrations are high; the northern and central parts of the city also suffer from salinity of groundwater due to high chloride concentration.

    The high nitrate concentration is due to disposal of untreated sewage through open and unlined drains/nullahs and indiscriminate dumping of solid wastes.” (Excreta Matters, 2011) The BMC depends on the far way the Narmada to rescue it out of its water crisis.

    This wouldn’t be a practical option. Firstly, the river too is rainfed water source and already caters to many cities. The government should instead try replenishing its own water abundant lakes which also happen to be a Ramsar wetland. The households also don’t practice sustainability. Only half of the surveyed residents think that Bhopal is facing water scarcity and only 12.5% harvest rainwater. This inability to convert the residence into urban catchments has led to severe damage the ecosystems.

    Resilience thinking unlike being in a defensive mode, should proactively structured for tight loops, dynamic reorganization, built-in counter mechanisms, decoupling, diversity, modularity, swarming, and clustering. Emphasis on making decisions that solve the problem once for all, prohibiting its recurrence would be beneficial. Presently, the city is planning to bring 185 MLD of water from the Narmada at Hoshangabad, more than 67 km away, at a cost of Rs 300 crore. Compared to the estimated water budget, the budget to manage sewage is only Rs 178 crore. The project was planned under JNNURM.

    Rakesh Sahni approved the final estimate of Rs 339 crore for the project. The project cost went up by Rs 159 crore due to political maneuverings and unnecessary delays. Besides its huge cost, the project will mean the destruction of hundreds of trees between Shahganj and Bhopal, which will be felled for laying the pipelines. (Source: 71-City Water-Excreta Survey, 2005-06, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi )

    Possible Alternative

    In its essence, the municipality is eyeing on a distant source to meet the population’s water demands. The three hundred crore investment would be to bring a limited amount of water needed to suffice the gap between the supply and demand.

    The practice of doing so is to revert back to the normal stage in the face of adversity. Bouncing back to the normal state where there is enough water to fulfill the needs and nothing more than that – which is contrasting to the ‘building capacity’ notion of resilience. What would serve as a supplement at the times of water shortage? As already understood, the current practice of drawing water from contaminated groundwater is not sustainably sound.

    Meeting the demand, at the cost of pipelining water from far away resources also isn’t sustainable, for its – disturbance in ecology, infrastructural prerequisites and capital. For the project to gain momentum is to wait for years. Furthermore, inefficient distribution networks, delays, leakage losses weigh this approach down in comparison to propagating local dependencies. Focusing on local resources, would draw attention towards the upkeep of lakes and would encourage capturing water.

    While initial investments would be large, they could be viable for a long term. Harvesting the water, the place receives will enhance capture and decrease the load on the municipality. The government can further help in subsidizing initial costs to promote the practice. Importantly, the capture can in itself act as a supplementary source along with BMC supply as the primary source or can be the primary source with increased storage.

    Viewed in terms of capacities, this self-reliable supplement adds to the resilience. Such an approach will add to the diversification of option and also contribute to sustaining local ecologies. Therefore, Increasing Local dependencies, Increasing practices that enhance capture (Rainwater Harvesting), Decrease in practices that pollute local water bodies and a reductionist lifestyle – together can contribute to ‘bouncing forward’ resilience.


    Local dependencies – where we base our ideologies on the local geospatial context for sourcing and cyclic metabolism of a resource. In the case of Water, one solution which is often talked about is to ‘capture water where it falls‘. While other methods like ‘project warka water’ to capture water can be explored.

    Subsidy Model – while these solutions require a huge amount of initial investments, the government can adopt the subsidy model to promote these practices. Such models have already been used in cases of solar energy and grid contributions. These practices have increased capture and lowered load on the government supply – adding to the quality of individual units hence increasing its resilience, which further contributes to the larger whole.


    It is fair to say that individual resilience does impact the urban resilience of a city and Bhopal clearly demonstrates that. However, the resilient practice adopted here is not sustainable. These strategies are temporary solutions that rely on a lot of variables making them vulnerable to failure.

    What we need to understand is that resilience should primarily be about “bouncing forward”, a move to a state better than previous. This ensures that in the face of change, the city is prepared to not only cater to change but also make sure it does not return. Most of the Bhopal’s sewage is dumped into its lakes making them toxic. To cater to this problem, a two-part action plan is needed.

    The city needs to stop dumping its waste in lakes and start conserving its rainwater to ensure a steady supply of potable water. One of the best solution to cater to Bhopal’s water crisis would be to retrofit each building with RWH. This would transform each building into an urban catchment that store rainwater and use it, making them self-reliant and in turn making the city self-reliant.

    This way our focus of capacities would result in building capability that helps each individual face water scarcity. Adopting ways in which ‘bouncing forward’ can be achieved, are imperative to development for resilient cities. There are two aspects to deal in case of development, one is to regulate the new developments and growth in urban areas using policies and frameworks. Second is to retrofit to adapt to this motive. Further research can be done to explore these two dimensions in the purview of adaptation and resilience. 17.

    Further Research

    The research talks about water sourcing of the individual household units. There could be a detailed study on these independent houses manage this water to reveal nuances of resilience practiced by them. It could be a fantastic reflection on the frugality of the citizens and the efficiency of the water system in general. The aspect of wastewater and its treatment could also be excellent research as it is prime pollutants of the lakes of the city. The way wastewater is processed from households to the BMC could help understand and eradicate pollution of the Ramsar wetland of the city. 18.


    1. Urban Local-Spatial Resilience Developing the Key Indicators and Measures, a brief review of literature Gharai F., Masnavi M.R., Hanjibandeh M.(2018,March).
    2. Scientific Journal of Bagh-e-Nazar Challenges and opportunities for building urban resilience Weichselgartner Juergen, Ilan Kelman, (2014).
    3. ITU of Faculty of Architecture, Vol.11, No:1 Urban Resilience: Informal and squatter settlements in the pacific region Jones P., Sanderson D. (2017,August), Urban Resilience: Informal and squatter settlements in the Pacific Region.
    4. Development Bulletin,issue 78 Urban resilience: A concept for co-creating cities Dr. Niki Frantzeskaki, Lead Expert , Resilient Europe, 2016 Anon 2011, 71-City Water-Excreta Survey, 2011-12
    5. Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi Climate Change, Changing Rainfall and Increasing Water Scarcity: An integrated approach for planning adaptation and building resilience of smallholder subsistence livelihoods in Nepal. (IGES Research Report 2014-07)
    6. Resilience, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer: Conceptual Considerations and Future Research Directions. Guerreiro, J. André & Pinto, Hugo. (2018).

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