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The research pathways were envisioned to empower rural and urban communities and the Amrita-TU Delft community to address the UN sustainable development goals such as good health and wellbeing, quality education, clean water and sanitation, sustainable cities and communities and partnerships for the goals.

Prof. Dr. Jules Van Lier (Professor, Environmental Engineering) and Dr. Saket Pande (Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering) were the collaborators from TU Delft. Prof. Van Lier also holds a post at the UNESCO-IHE, Institute for Water Education, the largest international graduate water education facility in the world. In the workshop, he explained the development of cost-effective technologies for wastewater treatment, closing water cycles in industries and sewage water recovery for irrigated agriculture. He has co-published over 200 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and over 400 publications in conference proceedings and scientific books.

Dr. Saket Pande spoke on the fundamentals of hydrology, applied statistics, economic theory, and their intersections in real-world applications. Most recently Dr. Pande has been involved in conceptualizing coupled human water systems in water-scarce regions of the world such as India and Australia and subsequently developed socio-hydrological models.

Thirty speakers and 60 attendees from four campuses of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham which included faculty, staff, and Ph.D. students from the School of Biotechnology, the Center for Wireless Networks and Applications, the Center for International Programs, Ammachi Labs, the Department of Civil Engineering, the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Department of Chemical Engineering, and the Schools of Business from Amritapuri, Bangalore, and Kochi participated in the workshop.

The primary goals of the collaborative research initiative were providing clean water availability and safe hygiene conditions for rural and urban communities through the Live-in-Labs program and the Jivamritam project: a community-based solution for clean drinking water. These research initiatives addressed four major themes such as water systems, water treatment, technology adoption, and water hazards in communities across the nation. More than 10 fully-funded Ph.D. students have worked with this collaborative research team to provide field-level sustainable solutions for the community.  A joint supervisory doctoral committee with faculty from both Amrita and TU Delft was constituted to guide each of the Ph.D. students in the program. All Ph.D. students were funded for four years and had the opportunity to be at TU Delft for more than six months along with the Amrita faculty guiding their research.

Core topics under the first thematic of water systems include systems modeling, vulnerability mapping, low cost embedded/remote sensing, IoT systems, hydrological modeling, catchment level water resource management and control and water infrastructure systems.  Wastewater, drinking water, disinfection, groundwater, surface water, sludge management-fecal sludge and reuse and valorization are topics under the second thematic area of water treatment. Assessment and impact of drinking water technologies, behavior change and behavior modeling, community engagement, and preference elicitation are topics under the thematic area of technology adoption. Lastly, flood modeling, landslide modeling, urban water management and disaster risk reduction/community resilience are topics under the thematic area of water hazards. Most of the field research was conducted in India so that the research outputs could be deployed and utilized in Indian communities.

TU Delft Guest Profiles

Dr. Jules van Lier is full professor “Wastewater Treatment /  Environmental Engineering” at the Section Sanitary Engineering of Delft University of Technology, with a 0.2 fte posted position at UNESCO-IHE. He received both his MSc and Ph.D. from Wageningen University, The Netherlands, and is specialized in Anaerobic Treatment technology. He (co-)published over 200 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and over 400 publications in conference proceedings and scientific books from 1988 onwards. His research interest comprises the development of cost-effective technologies for (waste)water treatment, recovering resources such as water, nutrients, biogas, elements from waste streams. Research projects are focused on closing water cycles in industries and sewage water recovery for irrigated agriculture. From 1988 – 2008 he was working at Wageningen University, where he obtained an appointment as a part-time professor in Anaerobic Treatment Technology in 2005. In the period 1997 –2005 he also was director of the Lettinga Associates Foundation (LeAF). Jules van Lier chaired the IWA Anaerobic Digestion Specialist group between 2001 and 2009. In 2011 he became nominated member of the IWA Fellow program. He is an associate editor of the scientific journals Water Science Technology.

Dr. Saket Pande (B.Tech in Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, 2000; Ph.D. in Civil and Environment Engineering, Utah State University, 2005) is a hydrologist and a water economist. He has advanced education in both Hydrology and Economics and has expertise in the fundamentals of Hydrology, Applied Statistics, Economic Theory, and their intersections in real-world applications. In recent years Saket has been extensively researching how fundamentals of applied probability can explain the issues underlying calibration uncertainty in water systems, especially in basin-scale hydrology. He has shown that control of hydrologic model complexity can lead to robust prediction performance. He has also been studying the impacts of hydrologic uncertainty on economic systems. Using his training in economics, Saket has also researched into temporal dynamics of individual decision-making as well as into the fundamentals of welfare economics. Saket has extensive experience in working in multidisciplinary teams on topics such as uncertainty implications of climate change on water availability, food production, and human wellbeing in developing countries like Benin, Ethiopia, and Sudan. Saket has been involved in the development of innovative statistical and GIS tools for integrating data of different kinds, be it by resolution or source, into a unified modeling framework. Most recently Saket has been involved in conceptualizing coupled human water systems in water-scarce regions of the world such as India and Australia and consequently has developed parsimonious socio-hydrological models. Saket’s overarching aim is to use his diverse training to solve real-world problems that are interdisciplinary in nature.

Prof. Damir Brdjanovic:Damir Brdjanovic is a Professor of Sanitary Engineering at IHE Delft (formerly UNESCO-IHE) Institute for Water Education and Endowed Professor at Delft University of Technology since 2009.

From Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, key researchers working on water technologies such as Dr. Maneesha Vinodini Ramesh, Dr. Bipin Nair, Dr. Balakrishna Sankar, Dr. Sudesh Kumar Wadhawan, Dr. Geetha Kumar, Dr. B. Soundharajan, Prof. K.A. Unnikrishna Menon, Dr. Sanjay Pal, Prof. Sethuraman Rao, Dr. Murali Rangarajan, Dr. Viswanathan P.K., Dr. Jayakumar J.S., Dr. Sreelal T.P., Dr. Aryadevi R.D., Dr. Dhanya M., Dr. Sajith Vezhapparambu, Prof. Ajith Madhavan, Dr. Nithya K., Prof. Shiju Sathyadevan, Dr. Prakash Chinnaiyan, Prof. Geena Prasad, Mr. Gevargis M.T.,  Mr. Renjith Mohan, Mr. Krishna Nandanan, Ms. Soumya Menon,Dr. Sani S.,  Mr. Vineeth Ajith, Ms. Reshma A.S. presented their research areas and participated during the workshop.

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