The tools used in the project were evolved by the BGS in a previous 1998-99 DFID-KAR project R6863 'Tools for assessing and managing groundwater pollution threats in urban areas' following a process of partner consultation, review and feedback with four partners from India, Bangladesh and the Kyrghyz Republic. The tools aim to improve the management of groundwater resources in cities where there is little information to support policy development, by helping to identify and prioritise problems, clarify issues, involve stakeholders and build commitment where some or all of these elements are lacking.
In many developing countries, the inexorable expansion of cities is putting pressure on urban aquifer systems used for public, industrial and commercial water supply. The realisation that water resources are finite is starting to force those responsible for urban water supply, wastewater disposal and drainage in such developing cities to consider how sustainability can be
introduced into their plans for infrastructural improvement.
It is against this background that this collaborative research project was initiated. The rationale of the project was to demonstrate whether an Action Plan comprising informed and locally practical aquifer protection policies can be developed within the limited financial and institutional resources typically available to those tasked with managing and planning the urban water infrastructure of a groundwater-dependent city in an emerging nation. The project's goal was to increase sustainability of groundwater used for public water supply in cities, and its purpose is the improved protection of aquifers from urban/industrial activities.
The project worked through the medium of case-studies in the cities of Bishkek and Narayanganj in order to develop robust practical assessment tools for wider use and also to gain practical experience in how to engage stakeholders so as to transfer the results of the assessments. The
work drew on the experience from these two case-studies, which were in contrasting hydrogeological and socio-economic settings, to demonstrate the methodology and the individual techniques employed and to show how they could have more general application in other groundwater-dependent developing cities.
The case studies used in this project were taken through stages 1-3 of the strategy evolution process using each of these tools to produce a draft Action Plan i.e. the threshold of Stage 4 Implementation.