About the Practice
Problem Statement:

"Despite being a popular concept, IWRM is difficult to implement in practice. Some of the key challenges are: 1. Many areas have top down water planning with a low level of stakeholder participation. 2. Siloed governance, organized by political boundaries rather than hydrological boundaries, and divided for different segments of the water cycle. 3. Diverse stakeholder groups with competing interests and varying levels of internal group cohesion. 4. A shifting climate, making past experience a poor guide for future expectations. 5. Inadequate capture of impacts from water-related interventions on both direct and indirect stakeholders as part of current decision-making processes. 6. Low levels of awareness of IWRM approaches."


The RURBAN (Rural - Urban) Platform uses participatory scenario analysis in a decision framework in order to create actionable plans and build institutional capacity for government-led resource management. Collaborative resource management is adaptive mechanism, since climate change would impact the resources for each stakeholder in a different way, and each has a different set of information relevant to management strategies. Through the co-production of climate knowledge we build institutional capacity, particularly among urban public sector organizations, using technical experts as guides and facilitators, not dictators of planning or policy. The approach is designed to create legitimacy and credibility among stakeholders and through a strong stakeholder engagement process. Stakeholders set the agenda as a group, ensuring the process remains relevant while fostering a neutral negotiation space through which we can create constructive conversations. When policy analyses are made inclusive and participatory, the resulting recommendations are more likely to be actionable, effective and sustainable.

About the Innovator

Knowledge Provider / Innovator: Athena Infonomics India Private Limited
Address: "9/5, 1st Street, Venkateswara Nagar, Adyar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu – 600 020, India"
City: Chennai
State: Tamil Nadu
PIN Code 600020

Email: "admin@athenainfonomics.com sairam.m@athenainfonomics.com"
Contact No: #ERROR!
Website: https://www.athenainfonomics.com/

Practice Details

Link: "A transboundary multi-stakeholder institutional mechanism that is scalable (RURBAN) RURBAN Platform is a mechanism developed to create a participatory approach to water management that cuts across urban-rural silos and builds capacities among key local stakeholders to design and implement climate-adaptive water management as a collective group, through a menu of intervention options, including: better integration of water supply protection, urban water services, stormwater management, wastewater reuse, and promotion of conjunctive management of surface water and groundwater. The framework for the interventions is to organize around the geographic boundaries of the watershed and support the design of policies and programs that can integrate both upstream and downstream interventions, spanning the water cycle from source, to use, to treatment and reuse to ultimate disposal. Simple and intuitive data analysis and visualization tools We have customized an open source software (Water Evaluation and Planning System (WEAP)) to provide a simple water balance model that can be updated and visualized in real time. Using a scenario analysis tool as a boundary object, it enables active stakeholder engagement, facilitating shared learning and discussion. Use of our modeling tools is crucial for this process, because scenarios can then be negotiated based on stakeholder inputs, in real time. We made the RURBAN modeling tool to be as flexible as possible, with dynamic outputs, while remaining simple and easy to understand, so that they can be used to analyze management scenarios while also simultaneously soliciting community perspectives. This allows the decision-making process to be transparent, rapid and iterative. In our piloting of the tool, we found that through this deliberation, the group eventually adopted solution pathways based on the decision support tool outputs"
Manufacturing Capacity: This innovation can be scaled up through institutionalization at the national and state levels and leveraged to inform the design of water balance models to support evidence-based action by local actors. District Magistrate's/Collectors could be mandated to take a transboundary view to water management using the evidence from the water balance models and engage with stakeholders from rural and urban local bodies. The RURBAN platform could be used by them to design new investments or track the performance of ongoing interventions, such as programs of water conservation and demand management, and in planning to meet current and future needs. Jal Jeevan Mission and AMRUT could be used to support the scale up through structured guidelines and technical support.
Photo Links:

Problem Scale: "In cities all over the world, climate impacts are felt most strongly through interactions with water. Rising sea levels cause saltwater intrusion in coastal aquifers, and increase the risk of flooding: this is especially true in South Asia1,2. At the same time, increases in the frequency and severity of extreme rainfall events and tropical storms lead to more severe flood events, causing large-scale property damage, loss of life and livelihood, and contamination of water supplies, in turn leading to disease outbreaks. Rapid urbanization, growing economies and increasing temperatures also boost demand for fresh water while shifting precipitation patterns often result in diminished water availability: even now an estimated two-third of the globe faces water scarcity at least one month in a year, while half a billion faces it all year long3. In South Asia, more so than other regions, this has led to an over-reliance on groundwater sources for agriculture4, and drinking water: currently 85% of drinking water sources are dependent on groundwater5. In much of urban India, water resources are contested between the domestic and industrial users in the city, and with local farmers in the peri-urban and rural districts surrounding the city. The resulting demand often and increasingly outstrips supplies, even in relatively water-rich locations. Thus it is imperative to set up a multi-stakeholder platform to manage water resources efficiently and effectively. (1) Khan, A. E.; Ireson, A.; Kovats, S.; Mojumder, S. K.; Khusru, A.; Rahman, A.; Vineis, P. Drinking Water Salinity and Maternal Health in Coastal Bangladesh: Implications of Climate Change. Environmental Health Perspectives 2011, 119 (9), 1328–1332. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1002804. (2) McGranahan, G.; Balk, D.; Anderson, B. The Rising Tide: Assessing the Risks of Climate Change and Human Settlements in Low Elevation Coastal Zones. Environment and Urbanization 2007, 19 (1), 17–37. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247807076960. (3) Mekonnen, M. M.; Hoekstra, A. Y. Four Billion People Facing Severe Water Scarcity. Sci. Adv. 2016, 2 (2), e1500323. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1500323. (4) Shah, T.; Burke, J.; Villholth, K. G.; Angelica, M.; Custodio, E.; Daibes, F.; Hoogesteger, J.; Giordano, M.; Girman, J.; Gun, J. van der; Kendy, E.; Kijne, J.; Llamas, R.; Masiyandima, M.; Margat, J.; Marin, L.; Peck, J.; Rozelle, S.; Sharma, B. R.; Vincent, L.; Wang, J. Groundwater: A Global Assessment of Scale and Significance; 2007. (5) Bharat, G. K.; Dkhar, N. B. ALIGNING INDIA’S WATER RESOURCE POLICIES WITH THE SDGs; TERI, 2018; p 36."

GIAN Reference: GIAN/UAL/289

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