Meet Kavita Khatri - Mayor of Jaisalmer city

Jaisalmer is a tourist city in the desert state of Rajasthan in India and faces scarcity of water. Through AdoptIUWM project, ICLEI South Asia – along with the city government – has been trying to revive and conserve traditional ponds and rain water harvesting structures and to manage waste that has been held responsible for localised flooding in the city in the past. Here are edited excerpts from conversation with Kavita Khatri, Mayor of Jaisalmer city:

What are the common problems faced by the city?

Absence of perennial rivers or lakes in the region and appearance of ephemeral streams during monsoons led to creation of manmade reservoirs in the region. But these reservoirs are gradually vanishing, thus aggravating the water crisis of the city. Mismanaged plastic waste, ending up in drains, has also been blamed for urban local floods in the city.

How has the collaboration with ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability helped the city?

Various dialogues organised by ICLEI through this project have been useful in enabling stakeholders understand the inter-linkages between the water sectors and the multi-dimensional issues and potentials that exist in the city. For example, nothing on this world is “waste”. We understand this and so do our citizens. This was possible through the pilot project on waste segregation in two wards of the city. We are happy that it has been successful and will now reach the next level of composting. Various efforts through information, education and communication (IEC) have helped to educate the citizens about cleanliness; angadwadi workers have also been involved. A number of informal talks, meetings and awareness generation programmes were conducted with households to ensure their participation and to initiate waste segregation. Both waste collection waste segregation have tasted success in two wards of the city. We are now advancing to composting of waste.

What is the city looking forward to after the success of these pilot projects?

We are now trying to extend the pilot on waste collection and segregation to more wards in the city. We would be happy to collaborate with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability on further efforts in integrated water management and waste management. Besides, we are also aiming to see every house in the city to be linked to sewage network. Through MJSA, the city is also looking to extend water conservation activities to more ponds in the city.

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