Paper Presented on Water Management in India

Subhash B. Bhagwat, principal economist retired from the Illinois State Geological Survey, presented a paper entitled "Water in Pune District, Maharashtra State, India: Economic, Environmental and Management Issues" at the international conference, Urban Water Management: Issues and Opportunities, organized by The Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR) and The National Institute for Water Resources (NIWR) in Chicago, July 7-9, 2009.

The paper was based on a 6-month study by the author as a J. William Fulbright Senior Fellow. The study area (Pune District) in the western state of Maharashtra in India is the fastest growing industrial district in the state. Well connected nationally and internationally by highways, rail, and air, the district has been a prime location for international companies. The city of Pune is known for its large skilled labor force, social and political activism, and strong but cooperative labor organizations. In a country with perpetual water problems, Pune is one of the best supplied cities. Even so, water is rationed severely with less than 6 hours of tap water a day. Water scarcity may become the biggest obstacle to the city's economic growth in the near future. The study objective was to highlight water's close connections to electricity supply, sewage treatment, public health, geology, land use policies, pricing, and public budgets. In summary, the study results showed that water resource issues are not an isolated problem but are intimately intertwined with the rest of life. The study results have been submitted to key policy making agencies in India in order to emphasize the need for comprehensive planning and implementation of policies.