Mitigating urban flood risks requires an integrated approach ranging from improved basin management to the construction of individual urban rainwater harvesting structures. This paper examines one of the potential measures to mitigate urban floods: the restoration and conservation of urban lakes. This paper starts with an overview of urbanisation in India and argues that the link between spatial planning and water has been broken as a result of uncontrolled urban growth and concurrent planning practices.

Mitigation of urban floods through the revitalisation of urban lakes is discussed on the basis of a short case study of Hyderabad (Andra Pradesh, India) where a large-scale lake conservation program has been initiated. The first results of the project are promising both in terms of urban floods and urban drought mitigation; indirectly the project contributes to urban poverty alleviation. The final section of this paper discusses challenges that need to be overcome and the potential for scaling up and replicating the Hyderabad project.