This session will speakers Rajiv Ranjan, Mishra, Kalpana Maraj and Avanti Pethe.
Making Ganga Basin Cities Risk and Climate Resilient (Rajiv Ranjan)
Key words: Resilience, Ganga, Planning, Adaptation and RiverCities
The adverse impact of climate change on water includes less predictable water availability, increased flooding incidences, storm surges and rising case of sea levels which further leads to destruction of water points and sanitation services and contaminates the water sources. In some regions, the droughts are worsening the issue of water scarcity and impacting40%1of world’s population in many ways. It is a difficult task to protect and conserve the water quality and quantity, but also provides an opportunity to use water as a leverage for improving ecosystems, economy, agricultural productions, and tackle inequality leading to achieving various Sustainable Development Goals. In India, the Ganga River Basin is the largest river basin, covering around 26% of country’s land area, hosting about 43% of India’s population(around 520 million)and contributing 28% of India’s water resources.The Government of India has brought in a long-term perspective with a proper institutional framework and created an integrated mission named National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) for protection, conservation, and rejuvenation of River Ganga. NMCG is guided by a holistic approach with focus on riverine ecosystem including municipal sewage, industrial effluents, municipal solid waste, non-point sources of pollution and interventions for improving ecological flows, biodiversity conservation, afforestation, improving amenities and sanitation at river banks, capacity building, research & monitoring and public awareness.At NMCG, along with implementing pollution abatement measures and creating sewerage infrastructure by various innovative practices such as Hybrid Annuity Mode and One City One Operator models, an equal emphasis has also been laid for the holistic development of the Ganga river basin. Moreover, NMCG has closely followed the global best practices which are similar toWater as Leverage (WaL)and Room for Rivers rolled out by the Government of Netherlands in developing the holistic river management plan. Consequently, it has collaborated with various stakeholders and strived to make the Ganga basin cities adaptive and resilient by making them river and water sensitive. For instance, a dedicated framework for Urban River Management Plans has been developed which enables city managers to strategize and develop river sensitive master plans for their cities. Likewise, we are also working on encouraging the city managers to transform their cities to include water sensitive urban design and planning. A recent study by NMCG showed how allocating a mere 2-3% of the existing open spaces and parks has the potential to harvest over 2600 million liters of stormwater runoff. NMCG is also currently underway to launch a unique initiative of River City Alliance to provide a platform for river cities to develop partnership for sustainable river centric planning and development.To conclude, NMCG seeks to present the unique challenges and solutions devised to make the Ganga basin cities risk and climate resilient by primarily adopting a holistic vision wherein all streams of water, i.e. groundwater, surface water and stormwater as well as water bodies like wetlands, lakes, etc. are considered as an integrated water system. Today, cities need to learn how to live with rivers, build with nature and make room for rivers, and NMCG through its work wants to precisely share this with the world.