The project H2O–T2S investigates water-related transformation processes in peri-urban areas in India. For its kick-off meeting, the project team conducted joint exploratory field work in the peri-urban areas of Pune, Kolkata and Hyderabad, followed by a two-day workshop in Hyderabad.
In each of the study areas the team visited two villages which had been selected in advance as study sites. There they conducted ‘transect walks’ – a systematic walk across the project area together with community members – and held open interviews to understand the ongoing transformation processes in the respective villages, especially regarding the access to water, governance of water and water-based livelihoods.
H2O-T2S Principal Investigator Carsten Butsch said:
“These exploratory visits strengthened our hypothesis, that these villages follow very different transformation pathways, influenced by local circumstances, state policies and – with water being our field of investigation – climate. For example, the access to drinking water for the households differs in all six villages. While in Hyderabad the village councils (panchayats) currently build up a water supply for each household with financial aid from the state, in Pune’s peri-urban area most households already have a metred connection, and the peri-urban villages around Kolkata are serviced by public stand-posts. Yet, in all these sites, public water provision is only used for domestic purposes. Drinking water is, in most villages, provided by local small-scale reverse-osmosis plants, which are a relatively new infrastructure, often run as public-private enterprises. Regarding water-based livelihoods we observed a shift away from agriculture for different reasons. While in one village in Kolkata the canals used for irrigation became polluted by small scale industries, in Pune farmers turned to floriculture, which brings them higher profits.”
During the two-day workshop that followed, the team shared and analysed their impressions from the fieldwork and discussed the methodological framework for the main field work phase, which will take place in the second half of 2019.