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EO Clinic: West Bengal Drinking Water Sector Improvement Project, India



EO Clinic support requested by: Asian Development Bank (ADB), South Asia Regional Department (SARD), Urban Devel-opment and Water Division (SAUW)
Requesting activity: Nature-Based Solutions – Water Storage in West Bengal India
Requesting activity type: Technical Assistance (TA)

EO Clinic relevant Thematic Groups: TG10 (Water Resources Management)

Work Order number: EOC0015
Work Order status: Completed
Work Order start: 2021 Mar 03
Work Order end: 2021 Jul 26


ADB is working with the Government of India to provide safe, sustainable, and inclusive drinking water service to about 1.65 million people in three districts of West Bengal state, India, affected by arsenic, fluoride, and salinity. With about 85% of water in India’s rural areas coming from groundwater, some 27 million people are at risk from arsenic and fluoride contamination. Arsenic in drinking water can lead to a range of problems including cancer, while high exposure to fluoride can cause dental or skeletal fluorosis and bone diseases. Increased withdrawal of groundwater also leaves the area more vulnerable to climate change and disasters, especially regular flooding, and is causing an intrusion of salinity into the water.
ADB’s West Bengal Drinking Water Sector Improvement Project (WBDWSIP) will provide safe and sustainable drinking water in the Bankura, North 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur (East Medinipur) districts of West Bengal state. It will introduce an innovative and sustainable institutional framework and advanced technology for smart water management to enable efficient service delivery in project districts.
Due to a combination of monsoon rains and tidal movements, at a proposed groundwater extraction point along the Rupnarayan, the salinity of river water is expected to exceed the desired threshold during certain periods of the year. To help this situation, several options had been explored, and a Nature-Based Solution (NBS) to improve storage of flood water has been shortlisted. The NBS for surface storage is to develop abandoned river channels, as storages, along the river Rupnarayan. These can be identified by mapping inundation before and after the monsoon. Channels that were dry during pre-monsoon, but with water during post-monsoon, are potential NBS sites of storage.

Problems to be Addressed and Geospatial Information Gaps

ADB and its partners have no comprehensive overview of the history and availability of surface water resources and potential surface storage sites in the three aforementioned districts of West Bengal state. The requested services will help by providing an inventory and detailed characterisation of potential additional water storage sites by focussing on the non-permanent water bodies in the area.
The objective is to provide a rapid assessment of suitable NBS water storage sites in Purba Medinipur based on remote sensing. Output will be a prioritised inventory of suitable sites which will serve as background for further detailed investigations.

Information Services to be Delivered

  • Service 1: Waterbody Inventory and Dynamics
  • Service 2: Land Use and Land Cover
  • Service 3: Potential Surface Storage Site Inventory

Project Documents


Sustainable Development
Prime contractor
  • I-SEA (FR)