Abishek S NARAYAN (India)

Abishek’s PhD work is transdisciplinary and combines environmental engineering with public policy and urban planning. Therein, he pursues a new approach to urban water and sanitation solutions that are context specific, sustainable and equitable.

PhD Student in Environmental Engineering at Eawag and ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Research focus: water and sanitation for development

Currently, over 3.6 billion people across the world do not have access to safe sanitation. In addition, 80 percent of all wastewater is discharged into the environment without any form of treatment. Abishek’s research focuses on solving this dual public and environmental health challenge through an innovative and comprehensive urban sanitation planning framework – “Citywide Inclusive Sanitation” (CWIS).

CWIS is a new approach that goes beyond conventional sanitation solutions by integrating a mix of context-appropriate solutions that can be both centralised and decentralised depending on the needs of different local conditions. It also focusses on a participatory planning process that makes solutions more inclusive, equitable, and acceptable to communities. Besides, wastewater is not considered waste, but rather a resource, using technologies that allow for the recovery of water, energy, and nutrients.

Abishek’s transdisciplinary PhD work is in the intersection of environmental engineering, public policy, and urban planning. It is driven by immediate societal applications and directly relates to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It contributes to Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), specifically to Goal 6.2 on Universal Sanitation by 2030. In addition, the CWIS approach directly contributes to Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being), Goal 10 (Reduced Inequalities), Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), and, due to the resource recovery opportunities, to Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production).

His work on water and sanitation has already gained traction among key development partners such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, GIZ and the Gates Foundation. This collaboration with partners outside of academia was considered by the jury as a great success and proof of Abishek’s inexhaustible commitment.

The research of Abishek mainly contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals 6, 11:

Take a look at this video that briefly introduces Abishek and his research: