Department Environmental Social Sciences

Bengaluru as a real-world laboratory for transforming urban water management (WaterReuseLab)

The WaterReuseLab project aims at analyzing whether and how a new generation of high-quality decentralized wastewater treatment and reuse systems could be developed and scaled up in Bengaluru, India.

Project Aims

Providing a quickly growing urban population with safe and affordable water is a key sustainability challenge of our time. Yet, the current gold standard for urban water management – extended pipe networks and centralized water and wastewater treatment plants – shows strong limitations in addressing this challenge, especially in the booming megacities of low- and middle-income countries. Decentralized water treatment and reuse systems (DWTRS), which treat wastewater directly onsite and enable water reuse inside buildings or in the neighborhood, are increasingly advocated as a more flexible, resilient and potentially sustainable solution. However, so far, few cities have implemented DWTRS at scale and research on how this innovation can be implemented in booming megacities of low- and middle-income countries is still in its infancy.

The WaterReuseLab project aims at addressing this gap by analyzing how a new generation of DWTRS could be developed in Bengaluru, India, a lighthouse case for UWM innovation that perfectly exemplifies the water and sanitation challenges of booming megacities around the world. The project aims at identifying success conditions for developing DWTRS solutions ‘that work’, i.e. that provide reliable, acceptable, affordable, and scalable alternatives to both currently dysfunctional DWTRS and conventional sewered systems. The project aims at developing a holistic assessment of innovative DWTRS’ development potentials and anticipating how shifts in context conditions, incentive structures and actor strategies will influence the reuse potential of treated wastewater in Bengaluru. It will assess how local actor coalitions developing high quality DWTRS solutions may navigate different development scenarios and aims at analyzing how holistic UWM solutions developed in Bengaluru could scale in other Indian cities and even internationally. By doing so, it will create cutting-edge scientific insights into the factors that support or hinder a future transition to onsite UWM infrastructures beyond the specific case of India.


Project Team

The project builds on intensive inter- and transdisciplinary exchanges among researchers from various Eawag departments, our local research and implementation partner WELL Labs, as well as practice partners in Bangalore and Switzerland.

Eawag Team

Dr. Christian Binz Group Leader, Cluster: Cirus Tel. +41 58 765 5030 Send Mail
Dr. Nadja Contzen Group leader, Environmental Health Psychology Tel. +41 58 765 6892 Send Mail
Dr. Francine van den Brandeler Postdoctoral fellow Tel. +41 58 765 5120 Send Mail
Dr. Christoph Lüthi Dr. Eng. Infrastructure Planning Tel. +41 58 765 5614 Send Mail
Muhil Nesi PhD student - Sustainable transitions Tel. +41 58 765 5905 Send Mail
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Truffer Research Group leader, Cluster Cirus Tel. +41 58 765 5670 Send Mail
Abishek S Narayan (Dr. Sc. ETH) Project Manager / Researcher Tel. +41 58 765 6771 Send Mail
Dr. Josianne Kollmann Postdoctoral researcher, Environmental Health Psychology Tel. +41 58 765 6420 Send Mail
Djamila Lesch Tel. +41 58 765 5660 Send Mail
Lena Xue Tel. +41 58 765 5674 Send Mail
Sofia Aalbu Tel. +41 58 765 6719 Send Mail

WELL Labs Team

Shreya Nath Shashank Palur Cheshta Rajora
Sneha Singh Hari Prasad