Moving ahead from the earlier studies on wetlands and water resources of the Nilgiris, we decided to look at an urban water demand and supply situation focusing on Coonoor town and surrounding areas. The intent was to demonstrate the impact of various sectors on water resources and the potential future scenarios if the current growth patterns were to continue. The choice of computer based simulation as a tool was also to enable prediction of outcomes of likely policy changes to deal with such a situation. The work on developing simulations for the Coonoor region was completed and the scenarios were shared in a meeting with the District Collector of the Nilgiris and other stakeholders in Coonoor.
The simulations underlined the need for looking at water resources in an integrated manner across departments and the key role land use plays in determining the quality and quantity of water available in the region. Building on this work, we initiated work on a new project that intends to assess the feasibility of developing a Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) model for the Coonoor town’s water needs. Jagdish Krishnaswamy, ATREE, Bangalore is advising us on this project and we have also benefited from inputs from Cornell University faculty and research students during the course of the year. We have are developing a Socio ecological systems profile of the Coonoor region to better understand the dynamics in the region for developing the PES pilot.