Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, in collaboration with Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Netherlands, organized an Amrita-TU Delft Workshop on Sustainable Water Management, at Amritapuri campus, Kollam, from February 10-13, 2020. The joint workshop was intended to provide a platform for Indo-Netherlands researchers to collaborate and exchange their research capability and design a research pathway to develop future sustainable solutions to address the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the area of sustainable water management. The research pathways were envisioned to empower rural and urban communities and the Amrita-TU Delft community to address the UN SDGs such as good health and wellbeing (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4), clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11) and partnerships for the goals (SDG 17).

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.

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