Adapting to Climate Change in Urbanising Watersheds (ACCUWa)

Adapting to Climate Change in Urbanising Watersheds (ACCUWa)

Project Status: 

Water scarcity, unsustainability, inter-sectoral conflict and water-related vulnerability of weaker sections are ubiquitous in the Indian sub-continent. Climate change is likely to aggravate pre-existing climate variability, thereby increasing water-related stresses, especially for marginalized groups. The process of rapid urbanization poses additional challenges to communities and water managers, as it brings increasing competition from a denser population and multiple sectors, separation of the source from users and overlapping jurisdictions of multiple agencies. "Adapting to Climate Change in Urbanizing Watersheds"(ACCUWa) is a 3-year interdisciplinary research study focusing on two rapidly urbanizing watersheds in south India: the Arkavathy sub-basin in Karnataka and the Noyyal sub-basin in Tamil Nadu. This study, supported by International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada will seek to understand the manner in which impact of climate change on the quality and quantity of water accessible to different stakeholders, particularly weaker sections, and the household and governance factors that shape vulnerability, short-term coping mechanisms and possible adaptation strategies. The larger goal is to build an interdisciplinary approach towards understanding the interaction between the water resource ‘system’ and the climate system in an urbanizing context, and to build the capacity of scholars, students, and civil society groups for conducting interdisciplinary actionable research. A review paper on approaches to understanding adaptation in water provisioning in developing countries has been published in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. The research focuses attention on stakeholder priorities, seeking to integrate detailed biophysical understanding with an understanding of the socio-technical infrastructure and institutional mechanisms through which climate change impacts will be felt by water users. As a first step, situation analysis reports and expert consultations are carried out in each basin to summarize the current understanding of the ‘water-related problems’ in each basin are being compiled. The expert consultation on Arkavathy was held in November 2012 and the Arkavathy Situation Analysis was published in February 2013. The Noyyal expert consultation was held on 24th Sept 2013 and the Noyyal Situation Analysis was published in February 2014. Detailed monitoring of both quantity and quality will be coupled with analysis of household, farmer and industrial water consumption behaviour and the institutional aspects of water allocation and regulation. A web-based simulation model will be used in tandem with iterative stakeholder interactions to generate participatory learning of cumulative and cross-scale impacts.

Water, Land & Society
Dr. Sharachchandra Lele

Projects Page Tabs

Journal Articles

V S Patil, B K Thomas, S Lele, M Eswar, V Srinivasan 2018 Adapting or Chasing Water? Crop Choice and Farmers Responses to Water Stress in Peri-Urban Bangalore, India Irrigation and drainage,Wiley Online Library, DOI: 10.1002/ird.2291
Thomas, B.K., S. Lele, V. Srinivasan, P. Jamwal, 2017 Rethinking Resilience in Urbanizing River Basins Seminar, 694: 55-8
Eswar, M. & B.K. Thomas 2017 Data Discrepancies Interpreting Rural Water Data inthe Decadal Census Economic and Political Weekly, 52(28): 29-32
Kuttuva, P., Lele, S., and Mendez, G.V. 2017 Decentralized wastewater systems in Bengaluru, India: success or failure? Water Economics and Policy
Srinivasan, V., Sanderson, M., Garcia, M., Konar, M., Blöschl, G., and Sivapalan, M. 2016 Prediction in a socio-hydrological world Hydrological Sciences Journal, pp. 1-8.
Lele, S. and Srinivasan, V. 2016 Focusing on the essentials: Integrated monitoring and analysis of water resources Economic and Political Weekly, 51 (52): 47-50.
Jamwal, P., T. Md. Zuhial., P. Raje. Urs. V. Srinivasan, S. Lele 2015 Contribution of Sewage treatment to pollution abatement of urban streams: A case study from Bangalore Current science, (108), 4: 677-685
Srinivasan, V., S. Thompson, K. Madhyastha, G. Penny, K. Jeremiah, and S. Lele. 2015 Why is the Arkavathy River drying? A multiple-hypothesis approach in a data-scarce region. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 1905-1917, doi:10.5194/hess-19-1905-2015.
Purushothaman, S., B. K. Thomas, R. Abraham and U. Dhar. 2013 Beyond money metrics: alternative approaches to conceptualising and assessing ecosystem services. Conservation and Society 11(4)
Srinivasan, V., B. K. Thomas, P. Jamwal and S. Lele 2013 Climate vulnerability and adaptation of water provisioning in developing countries: approaches to disciplinary and research-practice integration Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, (5), 3-4 (2013): 378-383

Popular Writings

Veena Srinivasan, Sharachchandra Lele, Jagdish Krishnaswamy and Priyanka Jamwal

Discussion Papers

Lele, S. , V. Srinivasan , P. Jamwal , B. K. Thomas , M. Eswar , T. Md. Zuhail. , 2013 Water management in Arkavathy basin: A situation analysis, Environment and Development Discussion Paper No.1. Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bengaluru.
Dr. Bejoy K Thomas's picture

Dr. Bejoy K Thomas

  • Adjunct Fellow - Centre for Environment and Development
  • Water, Land & Society
Dr. Priyanka Jamwal's picture

Dr. Priyanka Jamwal

  • Fellow - 2 (Assistant Professor), Centre for Environment and Development
  • Water, Land & Society


'10% of Bengalureans use twice the water they need', , Times of India, 20 December 2017
Peenya effluent getting into veggies, says study , The Economics Times, 13 December 2016
City's Oldest Stp Has Zero Impact On Water It Treats, Bangalore Mirror, 6 August 2016
Toxic lakes, poisoned veg farms, City, Deccan Herald, 1 May 2016
Sewage treatment in Bengaluru inefficient: ATREE, The Times of India, 16 August 2015
The carrier of Bengaluru’s waste., The Hindu. 10 November 2014.
"In Conversation" a video of the ACCUWa project. IDRC-CRDI,
"Water in the Bangalore surroundings" - , Interview on Doordarshan TV (Kannada channel) 11 May 2014