A little more than a year ago, I first saw the first signs of the country’s urban revival.
I was in my first semester at an urban college in Kerala, India, and I had just spent a month with a farmer from Kerala who, after taking up a job at a rural development company, was selling his farm to a local conglomerate for $15,000 a hectare.
This was the beginning of a new wave of urbanization, a shift that is happening at a rate that is accelerating in rural India, but which has been largely unnoticed by most people.
By 2020, the country will have almost 1.1 billion urban dwellers, and the population of urban areas is expected to grow by nearly 1.8 billion people over the next 20 years.
But while rural areas have been expanding, so have urban areas, and as India’s population continues to expand, the pace of urban growth is slowing down.
“The urbanization of India is going in a direction that we were not expecting,” says Anupama Duggal, director of the urban sustainability and sustainable development programme at the World Bank, a Washington-based non-profit organisation that works on the sustainable development agenda for the world’s poorest people.
The country’s growth is happening slowly, but fast enough that, in some places, it could be a decade before the next boom occurs.
“It will take a few decades before urban growth slows down to a point where we are looking at an end to urban growth,” Duggalt says.
“But, if it is fast enough, we can slow it down and then the whole urbanization process can move forward.”
One key to slowing the urbanization trend is ensuring that the infrastructure is there for it to happen.
As the urbanisation rate in India has grown, so has the amount of water and electricity that is needed to provide access to the cities, particularly in rural areas.
For some cities, such as Hyderabad and Mumbai, this means the lack of reliable water supply has forced residents to turn to drinking water from wells that are more than 100 metres deep.
For the most part, however, this has led to poor drinking water.
India has some of the world and the world is turning its attention to urban development in India.
There are plans to expand urban water supply to 30 per cent of the population by 2030, and in 2019, the government set up the Urban Water Authority of India to help address the problem of urban water scarcity.
In recent years, India has also begun building a series of dams that can be turned into urban water pipes, and it is looking to create some of these projects by 2020.
In the past few years, many other countries have started investing in urban water infrastructure, too.
For instance, the Netherlands has invested $500 million in its urban water system, and Brazil has announced plans to spend $1 billion in 2020 to help improve its water infrastructure.
But it is India that is making the biggest push.
With its rapidly expanding urban population, the world has started looking for new ways to support its burgeoning urban population.
In India, a number of measures have been introduced to ensure that urban water is not only accessible, but also usable.
In 2015, India announced that the number of people living in urban areas would increase by 5 million over the coming decade.
That year, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that by 2030 the population in urban India would be 4.4 billion, and he also announced a plan to build 3,000 new hospitals in cities.
In 2019, he announced that Mumbai would have the first-ever indoor plumbing system.
“India has gone from being one of the most densely populated countries in the world to being one that is now emerging as one of Asia’s most developed urban centres,” says Pratap Yadav, director for urban planning at the Indian Council for Development Research.
“There is a huge demand for infrastructure in cities, and urban planners are beginning to realise that urbanization is not just a technical challenge, but a societal one.”
India is also leading the way in other aspects of urban development.
Since 2015, the National Urban Development Mission has launched the National Integrated Water System (NIDS) to provide a wide range of infrastructure, including toilets, piped water, water treatment plants, water filters, sewage treatment plants and a sewerage system.
India’s water infrastructure is also being put in place, including a sewage treatment plant, a sewage network, and a wastewater treatment plant.
“In terms of water, we have a huge opportunity to change the way we use water,” says Yadav.
But in India, there are also major challenges ahead. “
Water has always been a commodity, and we are just starting to realise the full potential of water.”
But in India, there are also major challenges ahead.
In rural areas, there is