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Urban Water Markets

Project Lead: The Institute for Social and Environmental Transition 

Project Partners: TARU Leading Edge and The Pacific Institute 

Duration: July 2008-June 2011 

Project Location: Indore, India

The city of Indore, India is faced with the challenge of ensuring an adequate and secure water supply for its residents. ISET-International partnered with TARU Leading Edge and the Pacific Institute to create a resilience strategy that identified interventions to address vulnerabilities in the water sector and to ensure equitable access for its residents. Laura Seraydarian, Executive Director of the Boulder Center for Resilience, co-managed this project from 2009-2011 as an employee of ISET-International and in partnership with the Pacific Institute. The purpose of this project was to serve as a case-based study to understand the complexities of the water sector and to explore the needs of water managers in order to recommend strategies and provide tools. Strategies and tools were developed to help these managers meet ever growing needs in the face of climate change, increasing water insecurity, and rapid population growth. 


The Narmada River, the Yeshwant Sagar Dam, and the Bilawali water storage tank provide just over half of the population with water. As a result, residents utilize alternative sources to supplement their water needs including in-house storage, supply providers, and water tankers. However, these options have implications for equitable access to water as many lower income communities may be unable to afford these additional water options.  Continued population growth and the impacts of climate change on water supply, as well as high energy use, reliance on single sources of water and deteriorating water infrastructure are challenges to an adequate and reliable water supply for Indore’s residents.

What Services Were Provided? 

In order to support water managers in managing a secure water supply in the face of increasing social and environmental challenges, ISET led a multi-phase project that incorporated stakeholder engagement and vulnerability assessments to inform the development of resilience interventions. Water managers in this case study are defined as any individual, government, business, or organization involved in the process of supply and demand. ISET's project process included:

  • Shared learning dialogues with water managers, community members, and stakeholders

  • Focus groups

  • Vulnerability analysis/identification

  • Literature reviews

  • Climate projections 


What Was The Impact?

Participation in this case study provided stakeholders with the knowledge and tools to develop interventions to address Indore’s water supply vulnerabilities. Ultimately, the impacts of the study included:

  • Shared knowledge and understandings via a shared learning process for water managers and community members

  • The development of a resilience strategy that outlined actions to address identified vulnerabilities

  • Inclusion of community voice in resilience strategy development process

Urban Water Markets Publication

Climate Change and Urbanisation, Building Resilience in the Urban Water Sector. A Case Study of Indore, India.

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