International Symposium on
Drylands Ecology and Human Security

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Sustainable Urban Water Management in Drylands

Pulkit Sharma1 & Shashank Mehta2

1Delhi College of Engineering-University of Delhi, India

2Punjab Engineering College-Chandigarh, India


Water has always been an important source of energy generation. Earlier by using water mills, now through hydro electric power and in future by unleashing the power of hydrogen obtained from water, it has indeed our primary energy source. However an important aspect which is often neglected is that a large amount of energy generated is consumed in the utilization of water itself. Activities like pumping of water, transportation of water, treatment of waste water etc consume huge amount of energy. Water use by power plants, irrigation, water distribution networks in municipalities are the sectors which when taken together consume around 7% of the total energy produced in this world. However current trends in water supply and usage are not sustainable. This is because of the highly inefficient technologies and management system being used by the above mentioned sectors which results in wastage of lot of energy.
The aim of the paper is to provide an alternative solution to the existing water and energy crisis in the Urban Water Supply system in reference to drylands in particular through a prudent combination of change in water management practices and technological advances. The methods are broadly classified under two headings. Firstly the various technologies and management techniques have been studied. Concepts like watergy (water + energy = watergy) have been deeply analyzed along with its different aspects like supply side management (includes leak detection and repair, using of low friction pipes etc) and demand side management (includes use of consumer awareness, use of ultra low flow toilets, low flow shower heads etc). Path breaking technical tool such as SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) have also been analyzed. Secondly the case studies and results obtained from urban water supply networks (such as Jaipur Municipal Corporation (India's Dryland)) have been studied so as to draw inference regarding the financial savings outcomes possible if the same methods are to be applied to other cities/municipalities water supply networks.
The results obtained show that huge amount of energy, water and hence money is being lost due to inefficient systems in Urban water supply networks. Significant saving (which are approximately up to 80% of the loses) can be made by incorporating the various efficiency methods in Urban Water supply networks. The innovative solutions are in communion with Rio Declaration on Environment and Development which states-“Sustainable development requires better scientific understanding of problems.” The paper concludes that water issues can not be separated from energy issues. According to predictions in 2025 half of the worlds’ population will live in urban areas under water stressed conditions, a quarter will face severe water scarcity. Therefore to avert a crisis of global phenomena the need of the hour is to adapt an integrated approach of water and energy management so that Urban Water Supply networks can cater to the ever increasing demand of water and energy consumed in its supply.