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Gondhalekar D.,University of Bonn | Akhtar A.,University of Bonn | Keilmann P.,Dritter Orden Clinic and MediHimal | Kebschull J.,University of Bonn | And 8 more authors.
Advances in Medical Sociology | Year: 2013

Purpose: This chapter studies the link between urban planning and health. Access to safe drinking water is already a very serious issue for large urban populations in fast-growing economies such as India. Water availability is further being impacted by climate change, leading to the drastically increased spread of water-related diseases. Design/methodology/approach: Leh Town, which is located in an ecologically vulnerable semi-arid region of the Himalayas in Ladakh, has been considered for this study because it is undergoing large-scale transformation due to rapid growth in its tourism industry. In 2012-2013 our interdisciplinary group comprising researchers from Germany and India conducted field surveys, including geographic information systembased (GIS) mapping of point sources of water pollution, questionnaire surveys of 200 households and 70 hotels and guesthouses and semistructured interviews. We also reviewed secondary medical data. Findings: We found that diarrhoeal incidence has increased in the local population in Leh in the past decade, which may be linked to water pollution: Further, we found that rapidly increasing water consumption coupled with a lack of adequate water and sanitation infrastructure is causing serious water pollution. Research limitations/implications: Further, data is needed for causal connections between water pollution and health impacts to be conclusively drawn. Practical implications: This study discusses the use of GIS to support a call for the need for more integrated urban planning and decision-making that holistically addresses water and health challenges in Leh and advocates the development of a decentralized or hybrid sanitation system to support water resources conservation as a central dimension of an integrated health management approach. Social implications: GIS is also a very useful platform for supporting participatory urban planning in Leh. Originality/value: With such an integrated urban planning approach, Leh would be a lighthouse example for other towns in the region. Copyright © 2013 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


Gondhalekar D.,University of Bonn | Gondhalekar D.,TU Munich | Nussbaum S.,University of Bonn | Akhtar A.,University of Bonn | And 9 more authors.
Water International | Year: 2013

Rapid urban transformation with economic growth often entails shortage of water infrastructure in developing contexts, implying particularly serious health risks in regions where water uncertainty is increasing with climate change. Taking two small towns, one in China and the other in India, as case studies, interview, questionnaire and field surveys were conducted in 2011-2013. It was found that water pollution due to inadequate sanitation infrastructure is a serious health risk, but that implementation of decentralized sanitation systems (potentially better for water resources conservation) is impeded by decision-making structures. The article outlines a geographic information systems-based multi-criteria tool designed to support decision making on alternative water futures questions. © 2013 © International Water Resources Association.

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