University of California (Berkeley), Center for South Asia Studies

Executive Summary

Sustainable Indian Water Infrastructure Project (SIWIP): A Systems Approach

The Institute for South Asia Studies (ISAS) at the University of California at Berkeley (UCB) is pleased to submit this proposal on urban water challenges in India to the U.S.- India Educational Foundation (USIEF) for the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative (OSI). The research focuses on small- and medium-sized towns. The proposal is a joint research and exchange program between UCB and the Indian Institute for Technology, Bombay (IIT-B).

Water infrastructure is a complex system consisting of managed natural systems, engineered structures and the institutions that manage, finance and regulate their operation. Our proposal develops a systems approach to assess the merits of new (and existing) technologies or management approaches, in order to develop affordable and sustainable water, wastewater and sanitation options for urban India.

The main themes for the proposed research are (i) Urban Water Supply (ii) Water Treatment and (iii) Sanitation and Wastewater. Within each theme we will research the interlinked dimensions of technology, financing and institutions. The activities through which we will implement our program are: 1) collaborative research between Indian and U.S. scholars on sustainable and affordable water systems, 2) training early career scholars in urban water systems research, and 3) research exchanges of US and Indian graduate students. We are confident that the project will be grow and be sustained on a long-term basis, as a collaborative cohort on Urban Water in India will be seeded and developed, well beyond the grant period.