Climate Smart Cities

Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar is the capital and the largest city of the Indian state of Odisha. It is considered an emerging hub for digital technology. Home to around 1.2 million people, the city has experienced rapid growth coupled with extreme weather events such as cyclonic storms, urban flooding and heat wave making the city increasingly vulnerable.

Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), the urban local body governing the city, participated in the Smart City Challenge in 2015 and expressed its ambitious plans to strive towards becoming a more liveable city that can provide its citizens with prosperity, safety, and equity.

Specifically, under the Climate Smart Cities project, technical support to the BMC is being provided in the following areas: 

  • Storm Water Management
  • Construction & Demolition Waste (C&D waste) Management

To address the challenge of stormwater management, BMC and Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL), in partnership with GIZ, is planning and implementing several measures, including digital and technical solutions. With the aim of proving digital solution a mobile application on stormwater management - ‘Mu City Savor’ was developed. The application was designed to provide real-time information about the condition of the city's drainage system during storm. The app is fed by citizens reporting on flooding patterns, which in turn creates a data base enabling experts and city officials to monitor and reduce the impact of urban flooding around the city. The chocking of drains has been identified as a significant cause of urban flooding in Bhubaneswar. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) awarded BSCL with the Smart City Empowering India Awards in February 2020 for the app. The development and successful implementation of Mu City Saviour is an example of how technological know-how paired with citizen participation can assist municipalities in adapting to the effects of climate change.

As part of the technical solution, BMC and GIZ jointly work on a design solution based on the sponge city concept, which aims at creating a water permeable system. It is expected to reduce runoff water during heavy downpours to reduce the stress on stormwater drains and release trapped or stored rainwater gradually to eradicate urban flooding like situations in the city.

Almost every Indian city is facing challenges when it comes to management of solid waste, including Bhubaneswar. C&D waste is one of the significant contributors to a high amount of solid waste, and it requires specific technical skills and capacity to handle. Therefore, proactively, BMC, in partnership with GIZ is working on the issue. GIZ provides technical support for effective solid waste management, which includes coming up with C&D waste quantification guidelines, assessing gaps and providing recommendations, reviewing legal guidelines, and extending technical support to build a C&D waste processing unit for the city.

The implementations of the CSC project do not only have an impact in terms of the urban development within Bhubaneswar, but it also supports and engages local organizations and institutions such as the local University (KIIT) to conduct research activities.

 

[1] BMC: Smart City Proposal, 2015, p. 14