Water Stress in the Megacity of Kolkata, India, and Its Implications for Urban Resilience

Bhaswati Ray, Rajib Shaw

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing populations, enhanced per capita water use, climate change, and allocations for water conservation are potential threats to adequate water availability. Cities are especially vulnerable to water shortages because of their high concentration of population and the high demand for reliable water supplies to maintain their intense pace of human and economic activity. As climate change produces variations in rainfall, these challenges would intensify. Most Indian cities are already facing severe water stress. The megacity of Kolkata is no exception. Although Kolkata is hydrologically endowed with enough fresh water, the city is one of the most water-stressed megacities of India, crippled by poor water quality and inadequate supply. Major deficiencies in water service delivery include intermittent supply, inadequate pressure, high leakage loss, high-energy consumption, and dependence on groundwater. The city also suffers from inadequate zonal mains and old networks in an advanced state of dilapidation. The challenge is to build resilience in an urban water supply system that is threatened by climatic variability, population growth, and ecological degradation. In an attempt to assess the implications of urban resilience, the vulnerability and challenges in the water supply system has been analyzed, spanning issues of adequate supply, infrastructure, finance, water quality, and governance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Disasters and Resilience in Asia
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780128021699
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 22
Externally publishedYes


  • Challenges
  • Climatic variability
  • Resilience
  • Vulnerability
  • Water stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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