Water Talk Series at TISS, Mumbai on 7th September 2019
Event Date
September 7, 2019 - September 7, 2019
Register by
September 6, 2019
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Team Malhar, students of Water Policy and Governance (WPG) and alumni of Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai in partnership with RRA Network proudly present the third annual session of "WATER TALK SERIES" on 7th September, 2019 at TISS, Mumbai

The Water Talk Series was started in 2017 with the objective of creating an intellectual platform to critically discuss the issues in practice as well as in policy. The event provides a space to water policy professionals, bureaucrats, academicians and activists to share their opinions on the importance of water in the contemporary Indian situation.

The theme for the Water Talk Series 2019 will be "The Discourse of Flood and Drought in India – The Question of Life, Livelihood and Ecology." The one day event will try to critically look into the meteorological, anthropogenic and institutional roots of flood and droughts. At the same time, potential solutions will also be presented and deliberated upon by best practitioners and policy makers from across the country.

The Discourse of Abundance and Deficit – The Water Security

One of the burning issues in water today is both the problem of scarcity - drought and the problem of plenty - floods. These disasters, among many, are affecting livelihoods, employment, socio-economic development, the functioning of the larger ecosystem.

The Crisis of Deficit

Droughts are the world’s costliest natural disasters and affect more people than any other form of natural disaster (Wilhite, 2000). They are also considered to be the most far-reaching of all natural disasters, causing short and long-term economic and ecological losses as well as significant secondary and tertiary impacts (UN WATER). 16%  of India’s geographical area is drought prone (GoI, 2013) and with the country having wide variations in physiographic and climatic conditions, the monsoon is also quite variable, both spatially and temporally.

Due to these features, even in a good monsoon year, various regions suffer from drought. And during drought years like 2002, 2004, 2009, 2016, 2019, the impacts are very severe affecting the poorest and most deprived sections of the society and there by affecting various sectors and economic development of the country. In 2019 itself, more than 43% of India’s geographical area is grappling with a crisis of severe drought

Even in areas which are naturally and historically water abundant (for eg: Kerala, Karnataka and cities like Bangalore, Chennai and so on), today the water demand outweighs the water supply. Population growth, increase in demand for water from agriculture, industries and urban centres has resulted in more demand over availability and supply. Exploitation of groundwater beyond the equilibrium of recharge along with destruction of recharge areas has resulted in the depletion of aquifers, worsening the situation. As the availability of water in the country is variable along with the Changing scenario of climate change, the availability of water for irrigation, drinking and domestic use becomes the need of the hour.

The Issue of Abundance

Monsoon triggered floods and mudslides have ravaged several parts of the country, including the North East India, Bihar, Odisha and killed thousands of people, displacing tens of millions of people. The situation has become excessively worse in the recent decade with the change in intensity and distribution of monsoon/ rainfall and anthropological induced changes to the ecosystem. There is also a “deficit in abundance” – the availability of potable drinking water is a problem during wide spread floods.

With increasing urbanisation, demand for land and economic development, the natural ecosystems are under great pressure. Degradation of the natural ecosystems has destroyed the ecological niche (role) of the wetlands to accommodate the flood waters. Urbanisation also brings in cementing of urban soils, destruction of natural drainage and recharge areas and inadequate artificial drainage aggravating the issue of flood resilience. Adding to this, high intensity and erratic rainfall/monsoon fuelled by climate change has resulted in huge storm water load resulting in urban flooding.

Both crises are of an urgent nature which needs to addressed at the local level by sustainable, pre crisis approach and problem solving and institution management.

Programme Schedule

TimingTopic / AgendaSpeakerDuration
9 - 9:30 AMRegistration  
9:30 - 9:45 AMWelcome Speech

Dr. Shalini Bharat
Director, TISS

15 minutes
9:45 to 10 AMSetting the context of the day: Introduction to the topic & proceedings of the dayDr. Amita Bhide
Dean, School of Habitat Studies, TISS
15 minutes
10 to 10:40 AMThe management flaws of flood and droughts in IndiaMr. Himanshu Thakkar
Coordinator, SANDRP
30 minutes + 10 minutes discussion
10:40 to 11:20 AMDeficit to desired - groundwater and water security in floods and droughtsDr. Himanshu Kulkarni, Executive Director, ACWADAM30 minutes + 10 minutes discussion
11.20 to 11:35 AMTea and snacks 15 minutes
11.40 AM to 12.20 PMThe recurring havoc - floods in Northeast - causes, consequences and the way outDr Partha Jyoti Das - Head, Water, Climate & Hazard Programme at Aaranyak30 minutes + 10 minutes discussion
12:20 to 1PMGender perspective to droughts and floodsMrs. Seema Kulkarni Facilitation Team member of Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch (MAKAAM) Forum for women farmers' rights and Founding members of SOPPECOM30 minutes + 10 minutes discussion
1 to 2 PMLunch  
2 to 2:40PMDrought & the mitigation of the agrarian crisis and rainfall use efficiencyMr. Ravindra A - Director WASSAN30 minutes + 10 minutes discussion
2:40PM to 3:20PMDrought & Agrarian mitigation in dry land – technical perspectiveDr. K.V.Rao, Principal Scientist, CRIDA30 minutes + 10 minutes discussion
3:35 to 4:15PMMillion wells in the making - answer to urban water distressMr. S.Vishwanath - "A Million Recharge Wells Project" - Biome Environmental Trust30 minutes + 10 minutes discussion
4 to 4:15PMTea and snacks  
4:15 to 5:15PM

Youth Engagement - Panel Discussion

Urban resilience - emerging priorities and key initiatives

Post flood rebuilding after Kerala floods 2018

Natural Resource Management strategies to mitigate drought


Vincy Abraham, Water Youth Network, an International NGO

Navneet Anand, KPMG

Amit Deshmukh – worked in drought prone region of Latur

15 minutes

15 minutes

15 minutes

15 minutes discussion

5:15PM Thank you noteBhatta Ram - President, TISS Student Union5 minutes
5:20PMTea and snacks  

RSVP details in the above poster.