Madurai is a city in the South of India built on the banks of the river Vaigai with a population of about 1.5 million people. Due to the city’s location and geography it is vulnerable to extreme weather events. As weather events have worsened due to climate change more attention is being paid at the national and local level to “future proof” the city.
Of high interest is the city’s “blue” and “green” infrastructure. Blue infrastructure refers to water management infrastructure; this includes distributing clean drinking water, managing sewage, and draining storm water during the rainy season. Green infrastructure refers to the city’s publicly managed spaces that include parks and riverbanks. Historically, Madurai has had difficulty managing the storm water and rainy season floods due to trash that coalesces throughout the city to form blockages in the drainage system. It is viewed that both blue and green infrastructure management upgrades are needed.
As part of the future proofing of Madurai more responsibility was given to the local governments. Rather than a top-down approach the national government of India first educated and then mobilized local efforts to find solutions to blue and green infrastructure upgrades. This resulted in several lessons-learned for the future proofing program which is of international concern. Lessons include: