TU Darmstadt / ULB / TUbiblio

Reimagining Water Infrastructure in its Cultural Specificity Case of Pune, INDIA

Marathe, Manas (2019):
Reimagining Water Infrastructure in its Cultural Specificity Case of Pune, INDIA.
Darmstadt, Technische Universität, [Online-Edition: https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/9281],
[Ph.D. Thesis]

Abstract

Depleting water sources, rapid urbanisation and extreme human intervention in the ecological cycles leading to climate change exert intense pressure on the water infrastructure of several regions across the world. At the same time, design of current water infrastructure itself based on the post-industrial principle of controlling nature using modern technology has given rise to additional problems such as land subsidence, transformation of rivers, depletion of groundwater, human displacement and loss of biodiversity. In industrialising countries such as India, increasing population puts additional pressure on the finite internal water sources. The per capita water availability in India is expected to fall from current 1608 m3 to 1340 m3 by 2025, causing water stress conditions. There is limited scope for exploring additional water sources. Already with more than 5000 large dams and 11.7 million tubewells, India has the highest annual freshwater usage in the world. Against the background of these multiple and interconnected water problems worldwide and in India, the research on water infrastructure design and management suggests the need to bring about a fundamental change in the way we perceive water, and manage and design our water infrastructure. It recommends the need to shift away from the modern approach that views water as a commodity and develops water infrastructure that concentrates on maximum exploitation of natural water sources through command and control over nature. Instead, it proposes a sustainable approach that causes minimum disturbance to the natural hydrological cycle, attempts to manage freshwater demand in the society and concentrates on rainwater harvesting and wastewater recycling. Particularly in the case of India, research recommends the need to revive its traditional knowledge of water management and conserve the structures that diverted, stored and utilised surface-runoff, rainwater and groundwater in a sustainable manner. The current research on traditional water structures in India extensively focusses on their technical and managerial aspects. In comparison, less research focusses on their spatial aspect and form that integrate them with the settlement fabric. Furthermore, many research approaches take a mere overview of diverse water structures across India. However, very few approaches discuss in depth the socio-cultural setup within which they flourished, the reasons for their decline, and their significance in the present context. To overcome these research gaps, this research undertakes a socio-cultural perspective on understanding the value of Traditional Water Infrastructure (TWI) in creating water consciousness and reimagining water infrastructure creatively. Taking the case of Pune, India, it first examines how cultural beliefs and ideas have shaped its TWI. Then, through the case examples of traditional water cisterns, stepped water tanks, underground aqueducts and artificial lakes in Pune, it sheds light on the spatial and architectural principles of TWI. It further examines the reason for their decline during the British Colonial and Post-Colonial Periods and highlights their role in solving current water-related problems. The research presents data obtained through the review of secondary literature and archival records carried during February and September 2017. Similarly, it presents data from field observations, photographic documentation and measured drawings done during February-March 2018 and November-December 2018. The findings reveal that the limited availability of water due to the intermittent nature of rivers and the monsoon pattern created a conscious water culture in the traditional communities that encouraged people to use water prudently. The values, beliefs and ideas emerging from such culture have shaped the TWI of Pune. The traditional water structures were location-specific and built through people’s participation and the patronage of rulers. They were not only mere utilitarian structures but also places for public gathering, interaction and performing daily rituals. However, in spite of its critical role in sustainable water management, TWI experienced a gradual decline during the British-Colonial and Post-Colonial Periods. The British interference in the socio-cultural life patterns of people and a lack of patronage for constructing and maintaining water structures compelled the people to give up TWI gradually and rely on the modern infrastructure of dams and canals. Even after independence, the endeavour of Indian nationalists to portray India as a modern and progressive nation made them focus on the expansion of centralised water infrastructure and neglect TWI. At the same time, rapid demographic and spatial growth of Pune increased its water demand. Therefore, for finding quick-fix solutions to increased water demand, the technology of extracting groundwater by tubewells became popular. Thus, irrespective of the unsustainability of modern water infrastructure, its convenience of obtaining water easily without much effort instigated many people to give up TWI. In light of the above findings, the research infers that the resurfacing of traditional knowledge about water management is essential for bringing back water consciousness in the society. Similarly, learning from TWI would aid us to reimagine and design our future water infrastructure in a sustainable manner. In conclusion, the research recommends four ways in which TWI could assist in solving water-related problems and improving the quality of our environment. Firstly, repairing the existing TWI and designing similar smaller water storage structures in future would make water sources diverse. Accessing diverse water sources rather than a single centralised water source would make water supply more resilient to failures due to natural calamities. Secondly, TWI within urban and peri-urban areas could function as urban sponges storing rainwater and preventing excessive surface runoff. Thirdly, protecting TWI and small water bodies would maintain the biodiversity in nature, as they are the natural habitats for some rare species of flora and fauna. Additionally, the presence of TWI within urban areas would help in dropping their surface temperatures significantly through evaporative cooling, thereby reducing the heat-island effect. Lastly, water structures enabling people to see and experience natural water could function as vibrant public places, pause points and visual landmarks within the settlement fabric. With these conclusions and recommendations, the research suggests that in future, we cannot solve water-related problems by attempting to gain command and control over nature and the use of technology alone. Instead, it is necessary to accept that most of the problems are human-created, and they could be solved only with the correction in human action and human perception of water.

Keywords: traditional water infrastructure, culture, Pune, India

Item Type: Ph.D. Thesis
Erschienen: 2019
Creators: Marathe, Manas
Title: Reimagining Water Infrastructure in its Cultural Specificity Case of Pune, INDIA
Language: English
Abstract:

Depleting water sources, rapid urbanisation and extreme human intervention in the ecological cycles leading to climate change exert intense pressure on the water infrastructure of several regions across the world. At the same time, design of current water infrastructure itself based on the post-industrial principle of controlling nature using modern technology has given rise to additional problems such as land subsidence, transformation of rivers, depletion of groundwater, human displacement and loss of biodiversity. In industrialising countries such as India, increasing population puts additional pressure on the finite internal water sources. The per capita water availability in India is expected to fall from current 1608 m3 to 1340 m3 by 2025, causing water stress conditions. There is limited scope for exploring additional water sources. Already with more than 5000 large dams and 11.7 million tubewells, India has the highest annual freshwater usage in the world. Against the background of these multiple and interconnected water problems worldwide and in India, the research on water infrastructure design and management suggests the need to bring about a fundamental change in the way we perceive water, and manage and design our water infrastructure. It recommends the need to shift away from the modern approach that views water as a commodity and develops water infrastructure that concentrates on maximum exploitation of natural water sources through command and control over nature. Instead, it proposes a sustainable approach that causes minimum disturbance to the natural hydrological cycle, attempts to manage freshwater demand in the society and concentrates on rainwater harvesting and wastewater recycling. Particularly in the case of India, research recommends the need to revive its traditional knowledge of water management and conserve the structures that diverted, stored and utilised surface-runoff, rainwater and groundwater in a sustainable manner. The current research on traditional water structures in India extensively focusses on their technical and managerial aspects. In comparison, less research focusses on their spatial aspect and form that integrate them with the settlement fabric. Furthermore, many research approaches take a mere overview of diverse water structures across India. However, very few approaches discuss in depth the socio-cultural setup within which they flourished, the reasons for their decline, and their significance in the present context. To overcome these research gaps, this research undertakes a socio-cultural perspective on understanding the value of Traditional Water Infrastructure (TWI) in creating water consciousness and reimagining water infrastructure creatively. Taking the case of Pune, India, it first examines how cultural beliefs and ideas have shaped its TWI. Then, through the case examples of traditional water cisterns, stepped water tanks, underground aqueducts and artificial lakes in Pune, it sheds light on the spatial and architectural principles of TWI. It further examines the reason for their decline during the British Colonial and Post-Colonial Periods and highlights their role in solving current water-related problems. The research presents data obtained through the review of secondary literature and archival records carried during February and September 2017. Similarly, it presents data from field observations, photographic documentation and measured drawings done during February-March 2018 and November-December 2018. The findings reveal that the limited availability of water due to the intermittent nature of rivers and the monsoon pattern created a conscious water culture in the traditional communities that encouraged people to use water prudently. The values, beliefs and ideas emerging from such culture have shaped the TWI of Pune. The traditional water structures were location-specific and built through people’s participation and the patronage of rulers. They were not only mere utilitarian structures but also places for public gathering, interaction and performing daily rituals. However, in spite of its critical role in sustainable water management, TWI experienced a gradual decline during the British-Colonial and Post-Colonial Periods. The British interference in the socio-cultural life patterns of people and a lack of patronage for constructing and maintaining water structures compelled the people to give up TWI gradually and rely on the modern infrastructure of dams and canals. Even after independence, the endeavour of Indian nationalists to portray India as a modern and progressive nation made them focus on the expansion of centralised water infrastructure and neglect TWI. At the same time, rapid demographic and spatial growth of Pune increased its water demand. Therefore, for finding quick-fix solutions to increased water demand, the technology of extracting groundwater by tubewells became popular. Thus, irrespective of the unsustainability of modern water infrastructure, its convenience of obtaining water easily without much effort instigated many people to give up TWI. In light of the above findings, the research infers that the resurfacing of traditional knowledge about water management is essential for bringing back water consciousness in the society. Similarly, learning from TWI would aid us to reimagine and design our future water infrastructure in a sustainable manner. In conclusion, the research recommends four ways in which TWI could assist in solving water-related problems and improving the quality of our environment. Firstly, repairing the existing TWI and designing similar smaller water storage structures in future would make water sources diverse. Accessing diverse water sources rather than a single centralised water source would make water supply more resilient to failures due to natural calamities. Secondly, TWI within urban and peri-urban areas could function as urban sponges storing rainwater and preventing excessive surface runoff. Thirdly, protecting TWI and small water bodies would maintain the biodiversity in nature, as they are the natural habitats for some rare species of flora and fauna. Additionally, the presence of TWI within urban areas would help in dropping their surface temperatures significantly through evaporative cooling, thereby reducing the heat-island effect. Lastly, water structures enabling people to see and experience natural water could function as vibrant public places, pause points and visual landmarks within the settlement fabric. With these conclusions and recommendations, the research suggests that in future, we cannot solve water-related problems by attempting to gain command and control over nature and the use of technology alone. Instead, it is necessary to accept that most of the problems are human-created, and they could be solved only with the correction in human action and human perception of water.

Keywords: traditional water infrastructure, culture, Pune, India

Place of Publication: Darmstadt
Divisions: 15 Department of Architecture
15 Department of Architecture > Fachgruppe E: Stadtplanung
15 Department of Architecture > Fachgruppe E: Stadtplanung > Entwerfen und Stadtentwicklung
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2019 20:55
Official URL: https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/9281
URN: urn:nbn:de:tuda-tuprints-92810
Referees: Rudolph-Cleff, Prof. Dr. Annette and Schenk, Prof. Dr. Gerrit Jasper
Refereed / Verteidigung / mdl. Prüfung: 21 October 2019
Alternative Abstract:
Alternative abstract Language
Extreme menschliche Eingriffe in ökologische Kreisläufe, die zum Klimawandel, nachlassenden Wasserressourcen und beschleunigter Urbanisierung führen, üben großen Druck auf die Wasserinfrastruktur vieler Regionen der Welt aus. Zur selben Zeit begünstigt das Design dieser Infrastrukturen, das selbst vom postindustriellen Prinzip der Naturbeherrschung durch moderne Technik durchdrungen ist, die Verschärfung weiterer Entwicklungen, wie etwa Landabsenkung, Flusstransformation, Grundwasserknappheit, Massenvertreibungen und Verlust der Biodiversität. Zusätzlich erhöht die steigende Population in Schwellenländern wie Indien weiter den Druck auf knappe Wasserressourcen. Die Verfügbarkeit von Frischwasser in Indien wird laut Schätzungen im Jahr 2025 pro Kopf von gegenwärtigen 1608 m³ auf 1340 m³ sinken. Jedoch kann Indiens Problem schwindender Wasserressourcen nur sehr schwer begegnet werden. Bereits jetzt hat Indien mit mehr als 5000 großen Dämmen und 11.7 Millionen Rohrbrunnen den weltweit höchsten Frischwasserverbrauch des Jahres. Vor dem Hintergrund dieser zahlreichen und miteinander verflochtenen Probleme bezeugen aktuelle wissenschaftliche Entwicklungen die Notwendigkeit eines fundamentalen Wandels in der Art und Weise, wie wir Wasser als Gut wahrnehmen, seinen Gebrauch handhaben und unsere Wasserinfrastrukturen designen. Der moderne Ansatz, Wasser lediglich als Ware anzusehen und die damit verbundene Infrastruktur auf maximale Ausbeutung natürlicher Wasserressourcen zu konzipieren, muss überwunden werden. Stattdessen soll ein nachhaltiger Ansatz gewählt werden, mit geringen Auswirkungen auf natürliche Wasserkreisläufe. Dieser Ansatz versucht, den gesellschaftlichen Frischwasserverbrauch zu regeln und konzentriert sich auf das Sammeln von Regenwasser und das Recyclen von Abwasser. Besonders im Kontext Indiens rät der Ansatz dazu, das traditionelle Wissen über Wassermanagement und nachhaltige, auf Umleitung und Speicherung von Regenwasser und Oberflächenabfluss basierende Wasserinfrastruktursysteme, wiederzubeleben. Die gegenwärtige Beforschung traditioneller Wasserinfrastrukturen in Indien konzentriert sich auf deren technische und verwalterische Aspekte. Ein vergleichsweise geringer Teil der Forschung fokussiert den räumlichen Aspekt dieser Strukturen und die Art und Weise, wie diese in Siedlungsgebiete integriert wurden. Außerdem liefert die Mehrzahl dieser Studien lediglich überblicksartige Aufzählungen über die verschiedenen traditionellen Wasserinfrastruktursysteme Indiens. Das soziokulturelle Gefüge hingegen, in dem diese Strukturen florierten, sowie die Gründe für ihren Untergang und ihre Bedeutung im gegenwärtigen Kontext, wurden in den meisten Untersuchungen bislang nur am Rande thematisiert. Um diese Lücke zu schließen, nimmt die vorliegende Arbeit den Wert traditioneller Wasserinfrastrukturen (TWI) für die Erschaffung eines neuen Wasserbewusstseins aus einer soziokulturellen Perspektive in den Blick und verfolgt den Anspruch, Wasserinfrastrukturen kreativ neu zu denken. Am Beispiel von Pune, Indien, wird zunächst untersucht, wie kulturelle Überzeugungen und Ideen traditionelle Wasserinfrastrukturen formten und beeinflussten. In einem weiteren Schritt folgt die Analyse der räumlichen und architektonischen Prinzipien traditioneller Wasserinfrastrukturen am Beispiel bestehender Zisternen, Stufentanks, unterirdischer Aquädukteund künstlich angelegter Seen in Pune. In der Arbeit wird ebenfalls auf die Gründe für den Niedergang traditioneller Wasserinfrastrukturen während der britischen Kolonialzeit und der postkolonialen Periode eingegangen. Diese Arbeit stützt sich auf Daten aus Archivbesuchen im Februar und September 2017, sowie auf Feldforschung, Fotodokumentation und Maßzeichnungen, die zwischen Februar und März 2018 und zwischen November und Dezember 2018 gemacht wurden. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass einerseits die geringe Verfügbarkeit von Wasser durch intermittierende Gewässer und andererseits das Übermaß an Regenwasser zur Monsunzeit in traditionellen Gemeinschaften zur Ausprägung eines bewussten und bedachten Umgangs mit Wasser, also zu einer eigenen Wasserkultur, beitrugen. Die Werte, Überzeugungen und Ideen, die aus dieser Wasserkultur hervorgingen, haben die traditionellen Wasserinfrastrukturen Punes nachhaltig geformt. Diese Strukturen waren auf die Örtlichkeiten angepasst, durch öffentliche Teilhabe konstruiert und unterstanden der Schirmherrschaft der Regenten. Im Gegensatz zu modernen, nutzenorienterten Strukturen, waren diese traditionellen Strukturen öffentliche Orte der Begegnung und Interaktion, an denen alltägliche Rituale praktiziert wurden. Trotz ihrer kritischen Rolle bei der nachhaltigen Wasserversorgung verloren traditionelle Wasserinfrastrukturen während der britischen Kolonial- und Postkolonialzeit an Bedeutung. Der Eingriff der britischen Besatzung in die soziokulturelle Lebenswelt der indischen Bevölkerung und der Mangel an Verantwortung für die Konstruktion und Instandhaltung bestehender Wasserinfrastrukturen zwang die Bevölkerung dazu, auf traditionelle Strukturen zu verzichten und stattdessen moderne Infrastrukturen, bestehend aus Dämmen Dämme und Kanälen, zu benutzen. Selbst nach der Indischen Unabhängigkeit führte das Bestreben indischer Nationalisten, das Land als moderne und progressive Nation darzustellen, zu einer Ausweitung zentralisierter Wasserinfrastrukturen und zur weiteren Vernachlässigung traditioneller Strukturen. Zur selben Zeit führte der schnelle demographische Wandel und die physische Expansion Punes zu einer steigenden Nachfrage nach Wasser, was die Implementierung schneller Lösungen, wie etwa den Bau von Brunnen zur Grundwassernutzung begünstigte. Trotz der geringen Nachhaltigkeit moderner Systeme wurden traditionelle Wasserinfrastrukturen durch bequeme und einfache Lösungsansätze verdrängt. Im Licht dieser Erkenntnisse schlussfolgert die vorliegende Arbeit, dass das Wiederauftauchen traditionellen Wissens über die Verteilung und das Management von Wasser, als wertvolles Gut und nicht als Ware, für das Wiedererstarken eines bewussteren Umgangs mit Wasser als Gutmoderat denkenden Wasserbewusstseins essenziell ist. Von traditionellen Wasserinfrastrukturen lernen bedeutet, zukünftige Herausforderungen der Wasserversorgung neu zu denken, um kreative und nachhaltige Lösungen für künftige Probleme zu finden. Abschließend werden vier Vorschäge formuliert, wie traditionelle Wasserinfrastrukturen zur Lösung von Wasserversorgungsproblemen und zu einer verbesserten Qualität der Umwelt beitragen können. Erstens kann die Reparatur traditioneller und der Neubau vergleichbarer kleinerer Wasserspeicher zur Diversifikation von Wasserressourcen beitragen. Viele kleine und dezentralisierte Wasserspeicher erhöhen die Resilienz von Wasserressourcen im Gegensatz zu einem einzigen zentralisierten System, besonders im Bezug auf Umweltkatastrophen. Zweitens können traditionelle Wasserinfrastrukturen schwammartig Regenwasser aus urbanen Gegenden speichern und somit den negativen Effekten von Überschwemmungen entgegenwirken. Drittens kann der Schutz kleiner Gewässer die Biodiversität der Natur gewährleisten. Kleinere Gewässer sind oft natürliche Habitate für besondere Flora und Fauna. Außerdem hat die Nutzung traditioneller Wasserinfrastrukturen in Städten weitere positive Effekte, wie etwa die Reduzierung der Oberflächentemperatur durch Verdunstungskälte, was unter anderem dem Wärmeinseleffekt vorbeugen kann. Zu guter Letzt können traditionelle Wasserinfrastrukturen als Plätze des öffentlichen Lebens, der Begegnung und der Ruhe dienen, an denen Wasser als kulturelles Gut erlebbar wird. Auf diesen Schlussfolgerungen und Vorschlägen aufbauend verweist diese Arbeit auf die Tatsache, dass künftige Probleme der Wasserversorgung nicht allein durch den Versuch Natur durch Technik zu beherrschen, gelöst werden können. Es ist stattdessen notwendig zu akzeptieren, dass die meisten Probleme menschengemacht sind und folglich nur durch eine Korrektur unseres Handelns und unserer Wahrnehmung von Wasser gelöst werden können. Keywords: Traditionelle Wasserinfrastrukturen, Kultur, Pune, IndienGerman
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