Surat is the second largest city in the West Indian state of Gujarat. It is one of the first cities to be selected for an Indian government programme to create 100 smart cities using technology and data to improve infrastructure and services ranging from water and electricity supply to waste management and urban mobility. In recent decades the city has emerged as a major regional hub for trade and commerce, especially in textiles and diamond processing.

Surat’s economy and population are growing fast, placing increased strain on the city’s resources and its existing infrastructure. The city is also one of the world’s cities most affected by climate change, according to the World Bank Sustainable Development Network, having suffered 23 floods in the last 100 years. A new plan is needed to help safeguard Surat’s development and ensure the city continues to thrive long into the future.

Shell has a longstanding presence in Gujarat through the Hazira LNG joint venture. To find ways to address Surat’s challenges, we partnered with leading environmental services provider Veolia, the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC), the South Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI), and a range of public and private sector stakeholders.

Workers diamond cutting
Workers in Surat's diamond cutting and polishing industry

A plan for Surat

Shell has helped the local partners to identify the major infrastructure challenges that Surat faces and proposed measures to improve the city's environment and resilience to climate change. 

Our recently published city study “Challenges and Opportunities for Surat City” tries to identify integrated solutions that may help to strengthen the city's resilience, liveability, and economic potential. For Shell, this report is the second on city resilience and follows publication of a study on Marikina City in the Philippines.

The work in Surat is all about generating practical and innovative ideas for the city to build a more resilient and sustainable future for its citizens. We also hope the experience and the ideas and proposals it has generated will be valuable in helping other cities around the world. 

Read some key recommendations from the report

  • Implement a combined heat and power (CHP) system combined with solar thermal generation capacity in textile clusters to provide clean, efficient and affordable energy to this key area of the Surat economy; 
  • Establish green micro-grids – using a range of technologies such as solar photo voltaic panels , and highly-efficient small scale gas turbines and engines – to decentralise electricity generation. These could complement the existing power grid and help to increase resilience;
  • Reduce water consumption by implementing effective waste water recycling using innovative treatment measures such as reverse osmosis, ultra filtration and nano-filtration, particularly in the industrial sectors; 
  • Develop further energy solutions by increasing the use of biogas from municipal waste and wastewater sludge in power production; 
  • Complement existing flood management solutions with green infrastructure systems which use natural features and materials to reduce flood risk. Examples include restoring and enhancing river bank systems and spillways, and developing open green recreation spaces that can help absorb heavy rains;
  • Expand efficient transport systems using clean fuels including compressed natural gas (CNG), as well as numbers of plug-in electric vehicles which could make use of the recommended micro-grid infrastructure.

Download the report Challenges and Opportunities for Surat City


More in City innovation

City innovation stories

Read about new ideas, technologies and ways of doing business that are taking shape in cities around the world.

The role of natural gas in cities

Find out how cleaner burning natural gas plays a role in the long-term energy plans of cities around the world.

You may also be interested in

More and cleaner energy

We are using our know-how, technology and innovation to help deliver more and cleaner energy for the world's growing population.

New Lenses on Future Cities

We analysed six city archetypes to better understand the changing world and created scenarios for how individual cities might evolve and become more efficient.

Climate change and energy transitions

A key role for society – and for Shell – is to find ways to provide much more energy with less carbon dioxide.