ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Social Ecology of Domestic Water Use in Bangalore

The rapid growth of urban India has added new saliency to the resource conflict between the burgeoning cities and village India that continues to be the home for vast majority of Indians. Cities, like living organisms, depend on external metabolic flows to keep them alive. Among all the metabolic flows of matter and energy none is more important than water - especially water used for meeting basic drinking water and other domestic consumption needs. This paper develops a metabolic framework for domestic water use in Bangalore, one of the fastest growing urban agglomerations in India. Our urban metabolism framework treats the city as a tightly-coupled social-ecological system and shows that a spatially explicit understanding of consumption patterns is crucial to addressing three central aspects of the water conundrum - equity, ecological sustainability and economic efficiency.

The multi-institution collaborative research underlying this paper was funded by the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India (through a COE-Grant awarded to the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore), and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (through programmatic support funds provided to the Stockholm Environment Institute). We thank Gopal Naik, Ashima Sood and an anonymous reviewer for constructive comments on an earlier draft. The authors are responsible for all remaining defi ciencies.

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