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Water Transitions: Urban Water Market

Program Location: Indore, India
Project Duration: July 2008–June 2011
Project Lead: Marcus Moench, President


The purpose of this research was to understand the complex dynamics of the water sector, to investigate the needs of urban water managers, and ultimately to suggest strategies and tools that can help these managers meet ever growing needs in the face of climate change and increasing water insecurity.

Project Overview

Indore is the largest and fastest growing city in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and has grown into an important industrial, educational, and medical center. The majority of the water supplied to Indore is from surface water sources: the Narmada River, the Yeshwant Sagar Dam, and the Bilawali water storage tank, these catered only to approximately 54% of the city population. Beyond this, other vulnerabilities that were identified within Indore’s water supply ranged from single-source dependency and high energy usage, to ageing infrastructure and insufficient and inequitable access of water in the city.

Because of the inadequate and unreliable water supply situation, residents supplement their needs via household and community self supply, installing in-house storage, and supplies from water tankers and packaged water providers. There was little dialog between the two sectors on the topic of resource co-management, nor consideration into the issue of climate change and its potential impacts on water supply and demand. ISET worked with TARU Leading Edge and the Pacific Institute on a case study for building resilience in the urban water sectors of Indore. Throughout the study, shared learning dialogs were held with the community. A resilience strategy was crafted for Indore, suggesting diversification of water supply sources at the household and community scales, cleaning the existing water bodies, sustainably managing groundwater resources (conjunctive use), increasing storage capacity, conserving water and efficiency (grey-water reuse, water-efficient fittings, reducing system water losses, etc.), increasing groundwater recharge through rainwater harvesting, digging wells and artificial recharge, and capacity building of formal water sector employees.

Core Program Activities

  • Vulnerability analysis of water sector.

  • Shared learning dialogs with different stakeholder groups in the city.

  • Downscaling of climate projections for Indore.

Project Publications

Staff Involved

Project Partners

Pacific Institute

TARU Leading Edge

Funded by:

Water Transitions: Urban Water Market

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