Chennai city and the surrounding peri-urban areas face severe and growing problems related to the delivery of water services. This is due to a mixture of poor strategic management, outdated infrastructure and rapidly growing population (and hence demand). Although legislation is in place for controlling and regulating overexploitation and pollution of water resources, this does not have widespread public or political support and, as a result, it is not being enforced. Responsibilities for managing water resources are spread across many government department and agencies who, in general, do not cooperate with each other or share information.
The contention of this paper is that the need of the hour is a more integrated approach to water services planning and delivery that recognises the fundamental problems and needs of peri-urban areas. Multi-stakeholder dialogue, improved information management and sharing, better alignment of policies and new approaches to enforcing legislation are all needed and, arguably, this is best achieved within a framework of integrated water resource management.
Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS), Chennai, India, 19 pp.