Veena Srinivasan

A study looks at how households adapt to slow-moving environmental changes such as groundwater depletion.

Like in many parts of India, Karnataka’s groundwater is a vital source of irrigation water, but has been depleted by a combination of a prolonged, multi-year drought and intensive extraction. Worsening agro-climatic and environmental conditions are threatening the incomes of smallholder farmers and hampering the continued progress in poverty eradication.

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The authors propose a framework that makes it possible to evaluate a wider range of centralized and decentralized policies for urban water supply than previously considered.

Abstract:

Indian mega-cities face severe water supply problems due to factors ranging from growing population to high municipal pipe leakage rates; no Indian city provides 24 /7 water supply. Current approaches to addressing the problem have been “utility centric”, overlooking the significance of decentralized activities by consumers, groundwater extraction via private wells and aquifer recharge by rainwater harvesting.

 The framework was used to simulate water supply and demand in a simulation model of Chennai, India. 

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In this paper, we discuss a challenging water resources problem in a developing world city, Chennai India.

 

The goal is to reconstruct past system behavior and diagnose the causes of a major water crisis.  In order to do this, we develop a hydrologic-engineering-economic model to address the complexity of urban water supply arising from consumers’ dependence on multiple interconnected sources of water. 

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Many developing world cities have seen the emergence of informal markets.

 In these, private tanker truck operators transport water extracted from peri-urban wells to urban consumers.  This study adopted a systems modeling approach to analyzing the informal tanker market in India.  The results indicate that the demand for tanker supply was caused by lack of groundwater availability in private wells as well as unreliable piped supply. The study shows that two groundwater factors are relevant: depth to water and aquifer productivity. Together, these could explain the difference in spatial, temporal and consumer-specific variations in tanker dependence.

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A research paper that addresses the challenge of supplying water to rapidly growing cities in South Asia, using evidence from the water-scarce city of Chennai.

Veena SrinivasanThis research study, by Veena Srinivasan, addresses the challenge of supplying water to rapidly growing cities in South Asia, using evidence from the water-scarce city of Chennai. Chennai (formerly Madras) is a rapidly growing metropolis of over 6.5 million people, whose infrastructure has not kept pace with its growing demand for water. In the year 2003-2004, Chennai experienced a severe water crisis, the piped supply for the entire city was virtually shut down for a 12-month period. Consumers became dependent on private tanker suppliers trucking in untreated groundwater from peri-urban areas.

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