Dr. Saravanan Subramanian

Research themes
  • Water resources
  • Health and sanitation
  • Institutions
Research countries
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Uzbekistan
Research topic
New institutionalism, health systems, IWRM, urban metabolism, social epidemiology, geo-spatial analysis
Research projects

Project Coordinator - Water Resources Institutions and Human Health in India (ongoing) www.zef.de/project/urban_water_and_health

Project Coordinator: Health Research Capacity and Water-Releated Diseases: Improving Risk Assessment Strategies for Public Health Care in Uzbekistan (HEALTHCAP) (ongoing) www.zef.de/project/healthcap



1. ‘Advancing Health Research Networks in Sub-Saharan Africa’’. Strategy document for the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany. (Jan 2012- Dec 2012) (Funding partner BMBF)

2. ‘Global Environmental Change and Water-Related Diseases: Improving Public Health Care in Uzbekistan’ (Jan 2011- Dec 2011). Funding partner Volkswagen Foundation.



1. 'Ecological and Economic restructuring of land and water management in Khorezm, Uzbekistan' -Jan 2010 -Dec 2010). Lead in work package on water management. (BMBF) www.zef.de/project/khorezm

2. ‘STRIVER - Strategy and methodology for improved IWRM - An integrated interdisciplinary assessment in four twinning river basins‘ (2007-2009). (European Commission)

3. ‘Water Pollution and Human Health in South Asia - Exploring the Linkages.’ (Jan 2009 - July 2009). Funding partner- UNESCO-Paris.


New institutionalism as applied in Social and ecological sciences;
Complex System Modelling;
Integrated Water management;
Urbanization and Human Health;
Integrated Risk Assessment.

ZEF (interdisciplinary and Disciplinary Program) 2007-till date.

Faculty of Agriculture, University of Bonn (2008 and 2009)

@ ISSER, University of Ghana, Accra: Module on 'Integrated Water Management-International Experience' (2010)

Masters course at Indian institute of Technology-Madras 2013 (Urbanization and Health)

Masters Course at Faculty of Sociology, University of Bonn -2013 (Urbanization and Human Health in Fast Growing Economies)

Supervision of
ongoing doctoral theses

Sneha Sharma (2015 -) Politics of waste in urban India : contestations around dumping grounds.



Poornima Thapa (2015- ) Adverse pregnancy Outcome in Jaipur City. www.zef.de/staff/Poornima_Thapa


Michelle Guanti Lasso (2015-) Secondary and quaternary prevention of HIV and AIDS in Panama.

Minjung Cho (2014-) Health Systems research: Institutional analysis Public health systems in Uzbekistan. www.zef.de/staff/Minjung_Cho

Supervision of
completed doctoral theses

Ruchika Singh (2010) Decentralisation of Water Resource Management in Madhya Pradesh, India: Role of Actors in influencing (or obstructing) Institutional Change www.zef.de/staff/Ruchika_Singh

Panagiota Kotsila (2010) Water Quality and Health: Hydro-Social interactions and their impact on waterborne diseases in Can Tho City, Vietnam. www.zef.de/staff/Panagiota_Kotsila

Farhat Naz (2007) Socio-Cultural Implications of the Community-Based Water Management: A Case Study of Gujarat, India. www.zef.de/staff/Farhat_Naz

Huu Pham Cong (2007) Planning and Implementation of the Dyke Systems in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. www.zef.de/staff/Huu_Pham%20Cong

Additional information

Adjunct Professor (i) Center for Sustainable Future, Amrita University www.amrita.edu/center/amrita-center-sustainable-development/people; (ii) Indian Institute of Public Health-Gandhinagar, India

Funding institutions

The Volkswagen Foundation, BMBF, DFG, EU


Kotsila, P. and V.S.Saravanan. 2017. Biopolitics gone to shit? State narratives versus everyday realities of water and sanitation in the Mekong Delta. World Development, .


Saravanan VS, Marissa Ayessa Idenal, Shahin Saiyed, Deepak Saxena and Solvay Gerke. 2016. Urbanization and human health in urban India: institutional analysis of water-borne diseases in Ahmedabad. Health Policy and Planning, doi: 010.1093/heapol/czw039: 1-11. Download [PDF | 168.33KB]
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Saravanan V.S., D. Mavalankar, S.P. Kulkarni, S. Nussbaum, and M. Weigelt. 2015. Metabolized-Water Breeding Diseases in Urban India - Sociospatiality of Water Problems and Health Burden in Ahmedabad City. Journal of Industrial Ecology , 19: 93-103. Download [PDF | 1.66MB]
Saravanan, V.S.. 2015. Agents of institutional change: The contribution of new institutionalism in understanding water governance in India. Environmental Science and Policy, 53: 225-235. Download [PDF | 451.61KB]
Further Information
Saravanan, V.S., M Ul-Hassan, B Schraven. 2015. Irrigation water management in Uzbekistan: analyzing the capacity of households to improve water use profitability. In: Vlek, et. Al. (eds.): Restructuring Land Allocation, Water Use and Agricultural Value Chains: Technologies, Policies and Practices for the Lower Amudarya Region. ZEF. 25.


2014. How rotting water infrastructure pipes breed diseases in our cities. Governance Now: Of Policies and Politics, 16-31 August 2014. Further Information
Saravanan.V. S. 2014. Sustainable or 'sustaining' development goals: The role of international agencies. Governance Now: Of Policies and Politics, 5(18): 48-50. Further Information
Saravanan.V.S and D. Gondhalekar. 2014. Can water supply and sanitation be a 'preventive medicine'?, Water International Policy Briefing. March 2014. Download [PDF | 780.52KB]


Gondhalekar, D., Mollinga, P.P and V.S.Saravanan. 2013. Towards Systematic Comparative Water and Health Research. Water International, 38.7: 967-976.
Saravanan.V.S and D Gondhalekar. 2013. Water Supply and Sanitation as a 'preventive medicine': Challenges in rapidly growing economies. Water International, 38(7): 867-874.
Saravanana V.S.. 2013. Urbanizing Diseases: Contested institutional terrain of water-and vector-borne diseases. Water International, 38(7): 875-886.


Butch, C., P. Sakdapolrak and V.S. Saravanan. 2012. Urban Health in India. International Asienforum, 43 (1-2): 13-32.
Saravanan,V.S., P. Sakdapolrak and C. Butch. 2012. Urban Health in South Asia: Case Studies from India and Bangladesh. Internationales Asienforum, 43 (1-2): 7-11.


Prakash A, Saravanan VS and Jayati Chourey (eds). 2011. Interlacing Water and Human Health- Case Studies from South Asia. Sage Publications. London, New Delhi, California, Singapore. Further Information
Saravanan V.S., P. Mollinga and J. Bogardi. 2011. Global change, wastewater and health in fast growing economies. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 3: 1-6. Further Information
Saravanan.V.S. 2011. Global Environmental Change and Water-related Diseases:Improving Risk Assessment Strategies for Public Health Care in Uzbekistan. : 23. Download [PDF | 1.77MB]
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Saravanan.V.S and Peter P Mollinga. 2011. The Environment and Human Health - An Agenda for Research, ZEF Working Paper 82, Bonn. Further Information


Saravanan.V.S. 2010. Negotiating participatory irrigation management in the Indian Himalayas. Agriculture Water Management, 97: 651-658. Further Information
Saravanan.V.S. 2010. Movers, Shakers and Power Brokers: Agents in Negotiated Water Management in the Indian Himalayas. In: Peter P. Mollinga, Anjali Bhat and Saravanan V.S. (eds.): WHEN POLICY MEETS REALITY: Political Dynamics and the Practice of Integration in Water Resources Management Reform. LIT Verlag. 27-60.
Saravanan.V.S., McDonald, G.T., van Horen, Basil and David Ip. 2010. 'Policies are never implemented, but negotiated ' - Analysing integration of policies in managing water using a Bayesian network. Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research, 2(2): 117-136. Further Information
Saravanan.V.S., Peter.P. Mollinga and Shahbaz Khan. 2010. Guest Editorial: Water Pollution and Human Health in South Asia - Exploing the Linkages. Asian Journal of Water Environment and Pollution, 7(1): 1-4. Further Information


Saravanan.V.S. 2009. Decentralisation and Water Resources Management in the Indian Himalayas: The Contribution of New Institutional Theories. Conservation and Society, 7 (3): 183-199. Download [PDF]
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Saravanan.V.S. 2009. INTEGRATION OF POLICIES IN FRAMING WATER MANAGEMENT PROBLEM IN THE INDIAN HIMALAYAS: Analysing the Policy processes using Bayesian Network. ZEF Working Paper, 45. Further Information
Saravanan.V.S., Geoff T McDonald and Peter P Mollinga. 2009. CRITICAL REVIEW OF IWRM: Moving Beyond Polarised Discourses. Natural Resource Forum, 33(1): 76-86. Download [PDF]
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Saravanan.V.S. 2008. ‘Top-Down or Bottom-Up? Negotiating Water Management at the Local Level in South Asia’. In: K. Lahiri and R. Wasson (eds.): Water First. Issues and Challenges for Nations and Communities in South Asia. Sage Publication, London, UK. 224-243. Download [PDF]
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Saravanan.V.S.. 2008. . A systems approach to unravel complex water management institutions. Ecological Complexity, 5 (3): 202-215. Download [PDF]
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Saravanan.V.S.. 2008. Idealistic Images of Watershed Development- Constructive Engagement with Critiques on the Common Guidelines. E Social Sciences, . Further Information


Saravanan.V.S.. 2006. Integrated Water Resources Management: A Response. Economic and Political Weekly, 41 (38): 4086-4087. Download [PDF | 21.09KB]
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Joel Ruet, Saravanan,V.S and Marie-Helene Zerah. 2002. Water and Sanitation Scenario in Indian Metropolitan Cities. Centre for Sciences and Humanise (CSH), French Institutes of India, French Embassy,. New Delhi. Download [PDF | 757.80KB]
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Saravanan.V.S. 2002. Establishing River Basin Organisations: Holds Little Water’. Business Line, Publication from the The Hindu, August 19. Further Information
Saravanan.V.S. 2002. Institutionalising community-based watershed management in India: elements of institutional sustainability. Water, Science and Technology, 45.11: 113-124. Download [PDF | 107.52KB]
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Saravanan.V.S. 1999. Assessment of Water Supply Options in Urban India. . Submitted to SANDRP for World Commission on Dams.
Saravanan.V.S.. 1999. River Basins Organisations in India – Institutional Frameworks and Management Options. In: Submited to SANDRP for World Commission on Dams (eds.): . 30. Download [PDF | 110.32KB]
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Journal of Industrial Ecology, . Further Information

Additionals, Curriculum Vitae
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Saravanan Subramanian

Senior Researcher