Future of Urban Waterbody Rejuvenation

Waterbodies have lost their self-healing capacities due to unplanned urbanisation and industrialisation. Historically, waterbodies were the primary source of water supply for the towns and were conserved in pristine health. With increased dependency of cities/towns on piped water supply, which rely on distant sources as well as unregulated exploitation of groundwater, the waterbodies have been ignored and become disposal sites for polluted water and solid wastes. It is widely known and also acknowledged that there is a growing scarcity for water and therefore reviving water bodies has become an inevitable option. Hence, there is increased attention by the government, policy makers and sector professionals to rejuvenate waterbodies. Waterbody rejuvenation also aligns with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3, 6 and 11 to achieve the larger objective of urban water security. As polluted waterbodies are an indicator of an unhealthy urban environment, the government has decided to undertake rejuvenation exercise of the urban water bodies across India on a mission mode through its Jal Shakti Abhiyan. It is therefore, pertinent to discuss and debate on existing ways and means to rejuvenate waterbodies, associated gaps and the way forward to achieve a holistic and sustainable solution to waterbody rejuvenation.

The session aims to bring experts from different fields to discuss and understand the future perspectives on urban waterbody rejuvenation and provide a platform for dialogue amongst various stakeholders involved. The stakeholders will include government departments, scientific and academic institutes, lake activists, citizen groups, civil society organizations, corporate entities and community representatives. The programme will be a platform for experts, users and policy makers to share their understanding and perspectives regarding waterbody rejuvenation. The speakers will be encouraged to share their experience on the current issues plaguing waterbodies, existing processes and systems for their rejuvenation in India, challenges in carrying out waterbody rejuvenation interventions, government initiatives, funding patterns in the sector, and success stories.