Council on Energy, Environment and Water Integrated | International | Independent

Making Madhya Pradesh’s Smart Cities Climate Resilient

February 2020 | Climate Resilience

Suggested citation: Goodess, Clare, Colin Harpham, Nikki Kent, Ramesh Urlam, Sushma Chaudhary and Hem H. Dholakia. 2020. Making Madhya Pradesh’s Smart Cities Climate Resilient. New Delhi: Council on Energy, Environment and Water.


The report assesses the climate risks in Madhya Pradesh’s Smart cities - Bhopal, Indore, Ujjain, Gwalior, and Jabalpur. It adopts a two-step approach to understand climate risks: projecting temperature and precipitation for the cities under future climate scenarios and connecting the transitions with smart-city plans to develop a risk profile. It also discusses a climate-resilience framework for the cities based on the city plans for solid waste management, sanitation, transportation and flood management. The study was conducted in collaboration with the University of East Anglia and Mott Macdonald, along with various stakeholders in the Government of Madhya Pradesh.

Preparing for and investing in building resilience will allow Indian cities to grow sustainably and to attract investment, companies, and skilled people. This will give them a competitive edge, both nationally and internationally. For Smart Cities in Madhya Pradesh, this presents an opportunity to mainstream climate resilience into their individual city development plans.

Key Findings

  • By the middle of the century, temperatures are likely to increase by about 1.3°C in Indore and 1.5°C in Gwalior compared to current levels.
  • Average rainfall is likely to increase across all Smart Cities (Bhopal ~8 per cent; Gwalior~3 per cent; Indore ~10 per cent) by the middle of the century.
  • Days with extreme heat-wave and heavy-precipitation events are likely to become more frequent. These changes may place infrastructure such as energy, transport, and water supply at considerable risk

Overview of climate resilience framework for Indian cities

Source: Author’s compilation

Climate risks to key sectors

Solid waste management

  • A rise in temperature could impact efficiency of solid waste collection system, increase odour and pest activity, and lead to overheating of collection vehicles. It also poses an increased risk of fire at disposal sites.
  • A precipitation change can result in flooding of collection routes and disposal sites, access to landfills, and increased stress on collection vehicles and workers as a result of waterlogged waste.


  • Only 36.72 per cent of sewage reaches sewage treatment plants (STPs) in Indore. Untreated sewage from over 400 locations flows into the Khan River.
  • Close to 70 per cent sewage goes untreated in Bhopal.
  • Extremes of rain could directly damage sanitation- and water-related infrastructure. This could result in the contamination of ground and surface water. Decline in runoff and stagnation of water could provide fertile breeding ground for mosquitoes and other vectors for disease.


  • The coverage of footpaths in Indore is only 27 per cent, which is below the required standard of 50 to 75 per cent. Only about 40 per cent of the road network has organised pubic transport services.
  • The average waiting time for public transport in Bhopal is 20 minutes and the average load factor is 0.92.
  • A rise in temperature could mean heat damage to component materials and to signalisation/Information and Communication Technology/Intelligent Traffic Management system equipment, and surface cracking, expansion of bridge joints. It could also lead to reduced willingness of people to use non-motorised transport.
  • Rainfall related impacts are expected to lead to overloading of drainage system, damage to transport routes and supporting equipment.

Flood Management

  • Only 49 per cent of Bhopal is covered by the water supply system. The city does not have 24-hour water supply.
  • A change in precipitation will affect the water supply system during droughts and dry spells. High-intensity rainfall would affect urban infrastructure, low-lying slums and the drainage system which has only a 30 per cent coverage.
  • A rise in temperature would affect water levels in supply reservoirs, soil moisture content, and groundwater recharge. The energy requirements for pumping stations would be higher at higher operating temperatures.

Overarching climate resilience roadmap

Source: Author’s compilation

Key Recommendations

  • Prioritise and undertake a climate screening assessment of critical infrastructure such as energy, metro system, roads, and water supply.
  • Create plans based on trade-offs between system design and costs after factoring in information about future climate change and economic considerations.
  • Define the level of risk that the city is prepared to bear or the extent to which it is willing to build resilience, and implement appropriate resilience options to mitigate these risks.
  • Assign ownership and responsibility along with timeframes for reporting progress in the adoption of resilience measures.
  • Undertake periodic review and reporting of risks as well as of progress on the preparation and implementation of resilience plans.
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