If we want to make cities more climate resilient we need to make them greener
In order to increase green cover, we need to ensure we have sustainable sources of both water and organic matter. Although there has been a large focus on composting to create closed nutrient loops, there hasn't been enough on closing the water - wastewater loop to manage water sustainably, which for water scarce Indian cities, is extremely critical.
If we want to continue to increase green cover, we need to solve the urban water & sanitation problem
In addition to providing sustainable water resources for greening initiatives, the urban water and sanitation problem has it's own climate links:
THERE ARE HIGH GHG EMISSIONS ASSOCIATED WITH WASTE AND WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT
Human excreta is a globally significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Emissions from untreated sewage represent 3x the emissions of conventional wastewater treatments.
Pit latrines are estimated to account for approximately 1% of global anthropogenic methane emissions.
FRESH WATER AVAILABILITY IS GOING TO BE AFFECTED BY CLIMATE CHANGE
For every 1°C of warming, another 7% of the population will experience a 20% decline in water
The population exposed to 100-year flood triples from low to high emissions scenarios.
THERE ARE LARGE AMOUNTS OF ENERGY ASSOCIATED WITH PUMPING FRESH WATER
In apartments, water pumped from a borewell which can be as deep as the overhead tank is high, nearly doubling the energy load.
In a city like Bangalore, Cauvery water is brought to Bengaluru from 100 kilometres away & pumped up an elevation of 300 metres at multiple pumping stations. BWSSB spends around Rs 370 crores/year on electricity associated with pumping.
We believe we can tackle the urban water & sanitation and climate problem simultaneously
WE CAN ACCOMPLISH THIS IN 2 WAYS
Reducing emissions from traditional engineered wastewater treatment systems by promoting Nature Based Solutions (NbS), which will also boost biodiversity
Curbing water pollution and reducing reliance on freshwater by creating supply and demand for wastewater
We started our work through the lens of lakes and citizen action- you can read more about this work here
We are building on this work, to try and address what we found to be the root problems in the system- wastewater.
In order to make sure that we have a holistic vision we have taken a systems approach. By looking at the connections and key levers for change we have effectively been able to identify the gaps and possibilities of how they can be filled.
We also fully recognize that we cannot do this on our own, which is why we plan on acting as an ecosystem builder, leveraging our existing partnerships and expanding our network even further.
If you are working in this space, we would love to collaborate. Please get in touch (below) to know more about our current activities.