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LSE India Observatory | Research

Urban Water Supply and Governance

India constitutes 16% of the world's population and about 4% of the world's fresh water reserve. With a population of over 1.2 billion, which is growing at a rate of 1.5 to 2.0% per annum, per capita availability of water has reduced from 5300 cubic metre per person per year in 1955 to 1545 cubic metres in 2011. Besides population growth, the increasing economic development, industrialisation, urbanisation and lifestyle changes in India during the last few decades has resulted in a substantial increase in demand for water. Consequentially, the setting up of appropriate institutional mechanisms for efficient, equitable and sustainable water resource development, management and allocation is a major policy challenge.

In this context, the LSE India Observatory and the University of Hyderabad, India, jointly undertook research into urban water supply and governance. This project was led in the UK by Dr Ruth Kattumuri, Co-Director LSE India Observatory, and in India by Dr Satyapriya Rout, University of Hyderabad. Dr Rout was the Sir Ratan Tata Visiting Fellow 2012-13 at the LSE Asia Research Centre.

The objective of this project was to evaluate the institutional arrangements of urban water service delivery and governance in India. This study examined water policy instruments and focussed on institutional capabilities to provide drinking water to urban households in an efficient and equitable manner, while at the same time ensuring sustainability of the resource and minimising conflicts among various stakeholders. A sample of 1000 households were surveyed in each of the three cities: Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh, Bangalore in Karnataka, Kochi in Kerala and Ahmadabad in Gujarat; and 714 households were surveyed in Kochi in Kerala.

Three workshops based on preliminary analyses have been arranged in London, Hyderabad and New Delhi.

The research was supported by a grant from the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) to whom we are grateful.