Nature-Based Solutions for Water Management in the Peri-Urban

Case Studies

India: Udaipur Lake System in Rajasthan and Jal-Jeevan-Hariyali Mission in Bihar

The fast expanding urban centers in India engulf rural hinterlands, replacing wetlands and green spaces with built-up areas, in turn leading to increasing water scarcity and compromised water quality in the new peri-urban areas. This contradicts the historical scenario when NBS rooted in rainwater harvesting used to constitute the most reliable local solution for water supply, often linking the urban and rural spaces in a continuum. Unfortunately, the value of NBS in general and rainwater harvesting in particular, has become lost in the process of urban development. Under certain current policies/programs, such as AMRUT, water supply and development of green areas appear to be separately considered without requisite concern for water sustainability. However, some other government interventions, such as the Jal-Jeevan-Hariyali (Water-Life-Greenery) Mission in Bihar, are rooted in the intricate interconnections between water and nature conservation, and hence NBS for water. Against this background, two case studies are undertaken in India.

The case study in semi-arid Rajasthan examines the lake system in the city of Udaipur aiming to analyze the historical factors underlying the sustainability of the Udaipur Lake system – considered along the three dimensions of sustainability (environmental, social and economic). It also aims to identify the challenges that are increasingly threatening the sustainability of the Lake system in recent times. The ultimate purpose is to generate evidence-based knowledge on the challenges facing and the potential offered by rainwater harvesting as an option for peri-urban water sustainability (vis-à-vis conventional grey infrastructure-based approaches). It will also explore the role of different stakeholders in taking forward such integrated approaches.

The case study in the state of Bihar seeks to assess the sustainability of the Jal-Jeevan-Hariyali (JJH) Mission along environmental, social and economic dimensions. This mission is implemented at community level across physical and socio-economic diversities of Bihar in the peri-urban and surrounding rural areas. The JJH Mission involves NBS projects that have “green” technology-based and/or traditional knowledge-based components. Presently under the administrative control, this mission foresees gradual transfer of ownership to local communities through training and participation programs. In this case study, the existing barriers, results and scope of the innovative approaches implemented under JJH Mission are examined.

Udaipur lake photo

Encroached Govardhan Sagar Lake in peri-urban Udaipur, Rajasthan

Read a Photo Story on the Lake System of Udaipur as an integrated nature-based solution for water sustainability

Pond constructed to conserve rainwater in a peri-urban locality in Bihar

Read more in the Udaipur Case Study Brief

Read more in the Bihar Case Study Brief