Department of Water and Environmental Studies,
Tema Institute, Linköping University:

Postal Address: Tema Vatten i natur och samhälle (Tema V), Institutionen för Tema, Linköpings universitet, SE-581 83 Linköping
Visiting Address: House T, Linköping University, Campus Valla
Web page: http://www.tema.liu.se/tema-v/

Contact person: Associate Professor Julie Wilk, phone: +46 (0)13 28 44 63

Water and Environmental Studies (Tema V) is a centre for multi- and interdisciplinary postgraduate training and research within the Tema Institute at Linköping University. The Tema Institute is part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and answers for a substantial amount of its graduate education, research and postgraduate training. Tema V began its activities in 1980 on a rather modest scale, but two decades later it has grown to nearly 80 persons, the majority being postgraduate students. In its present form, it is the melting-pot for chemists, physicists, technicians, microbiologists, molecular biologists, ecologists, geographers, oceanographers, political scientists, hydrologists, limnologists, social anthropologists, historians, sociologists, ecotoxicologists, statisticians, national economists and ethnogeographists.
Research at Tema V is focused on water and environmental problems relevant to society. Tema V research has been financed by all Swedish research councils and sectoral agencies, by Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency), and in recent years also by the European Union.
For many years, the department was headed by Professor Jan Lundqvist. He is now working at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). Since 2003, he has chaired SIWI’s Scientific Programme Committee, and been involved in planning the symposia taking place every year in August in connection with the Stockholm Water Week. More information about the World Water Week in Stockholm.

South Asia related Masters of Science course:

A 120 ECTS Credits International Master's Programme in Science for Sustainable Development started in 2007. It is organised by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and leads to a Master in Science degree in Sustainable Development, with a specialization in one of the following areas: 1. Climate, Energy & Recycling; 2. Water & Food Security; or 3. GIS for Environmental Studies. Focus in the first two study areas will be directed to both how social changes shape the environment, and how environmental changes shape society. Next programme starts in September 2010. new
More information about the programme. Contact person: Lotta Berglund

Research projects on South Asia:

Jan LundqvistThe Department has been involved in a number of research and policy oriented projects in South Asia, primarily in India and in Sri Lanka. The common theme of the engagements concerns water and land resources and their management, utilisation and the implications thereof.

In the Fall 2002 the department, through Prof Jan Lundqvist, secured funding from the Swedish Research Links programme, for a major project on water resources management in South India, which is carried out in collaboration with the South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies (SaciWATERs), with its headquarters in Hyderabad, India (Project leader: Dr A Rajagopal). The project ran over a period of three years.
The objectives of the project were to:

– analyse dynamics of water availability & variation in quality parameters in two selected basins (in the states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh)
– produce a water budget, showing physical and social mechanisms that influece availability and accessability
– analyse factors which contribute to differential access to water, particularly risks and challenges that the poor face
– identify opportunities for empowering the poor by enhancing their negotiation capacities through multi-stakeholder dialogue (MSD)

Prof Gunnar Jacks, Dept of Land and Water Resources Engineering, KTH, Stockholm; Prof K Palanisami, Water Technology Centre, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore; and Prof Paul Appasmy, Madras School of Economics, Chennai, India, are also partners in the project.

In November 2004, Prof. Jan Lundqvist received SEK 2.5 million as a three-years (2005-07) research grant from the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (Formas) for a project titled ”Over-committed River Basins – A case study in Southern India with a comparative outlook”. More information about the project (only in Swedish).
In November 2005 Prof. Lundqvist received SEK 1 million as a two-years (2006-07) research grant from Sida/SAREC for a project titled ”Rights and Participation in Policy Making and Management of Scarce Water Resources (Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh)”. More information on Sida funded South Asia related research projects in 2005.

Julie• Dr. Julie Wilk is a Research Associate at the Department. She is a hydrogeographer with over ten years of experience in hydrological modelling, GIS applications and data collection and validation of statistical and local knowledge about natural resources. Her doctoral thesis dealt with hydrological implications of large-scale changes in land use in South India and in Thailand. She has also analysed perceptions about forest-water interactions among community members and to what extent they concur with scientific perspectives. She defended her PhD thesis on Do forests have an impact on water availability? Assessing the effects of heterogeneous land use on streamflow in two monsoonal river basins” in December 2000. More information.

• In a research programme entitled ”Sharing Common Water Resources”, Dr. Anna Jonsson, made a comparison between water management institutions in rural and urban areas in Tamil Nadu, and particularly the role of collective action. She defended her doctoral thesis in 1996. The title was: Food and Fashion. Water Management and Collective Action among Irrigation Farmers and Textile Industrialists in South India. She is an institutional economist with 15 years experience in stakeholder oriented research on socio-economic and institutional contexts affecting water resource management. T is a multi-disciplinary department with a strong basis in both undergradate education and research in diverse environmental fields.
Assistant Professor Anna Jonsson is now working as a lecturer at the Environmental Science Programme at Linköping University. She has been involved in a major research project called ”Strategic Water Research Program – VASTRA Phase II, Subprogramme 2. Selecting policy instruments, institutions, and conflict resolution mechanisms for sustainable catchment management”. The project leader was Prof. Jan Lundqvist; and other participants Marianne Löwgren from the same department; Dennis Collentine, Swedish Agicultural University, Uppsala; and Victor Galaz, Dept. of Political Science, Göteborg University. The three-years project (2002-2004) was funded by a SEK 5.3 million grant from MISTRA (Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research). More information on the project (as a pdf-file). 

In August 2005 Julie Wilk and Anna Jonsson received SEK 60 000 as a SASNET planning grant for a project titled ”Defining water poverty to meet local goals, through stakeholder involvement in the Bhavani River Basin, India”. The project is carried out in collaboiration with Caroline Sullivan, an environmental and ecological economist at the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), Wallingford, UK, who has worked in the field of "development and the environment" for over 20 years and is one of the researchers who developed the Water Poverty Index. CEH is an interdisciplinary research centre for ecology, hydrology, virology and environmental microbiology. Its mission is ”to advance the science of ecology, environmental microbiology and hydrology through high quality and interdisciplinary research in support of the NERC mission and international programmes.”
In November 2005 this project received SEK 1 650 000 as a three-years (2006-08) research grant from Sida/SAREC. More information on Sida funded South Asia related research projects in 2005.
Project abstract: This proposed project's aim is to initiate stakeholder participation in a village within a relevant river basin in south Asia (e.g. India, Nepal, Bangladesh) in order to map current water usage and problems with a Water Poverty Index (WPI). This index has been designed and used in order to identify and evaluate poverty in relation to water resources. It is a means in which various groups can become aware of the current status and problems related to water resources (availability, sanitation, ecosystems, etc, develop common goals, monitor change and relay status and progress to authorities. The calculation of a WPI is not a means in itself but a tool to enable the definition of components in the local area that are important in relation to water and poverty. The WPI method is based on participation and group discussion, a prerequisite for local voices to be heard and results anchored and legitimised in the local and regional setting.

In October 2010, Julie Wilk and Anna Jonsson were awarded SEK 2.7 m as a three-years grant (2011-13) from Sida/SAREC’s Developing Country Research Council for a comparative project entitled ”Designing climate-smart water adaptation strategies for sustainable urban development. A study of Cochahamba, Phnom Penh and Kota”. A third partner in the project is Dr. Maria Rydhagen, Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlshamn. More information. new
Project abstract: The aim of the project is to assess the vulnerability and adaptive capacity in cities and to formulate sustainable planning strategies that address the major impacts of climate changes. Planning for water (storm- potable- and wastewater) is in focus since water resource already today is complicated to manage for societies? every needs and the situation is predicated to become even more critical in the future. A toolbox for participatory integrated vulnerability assessments with local communities and authorities has been developed with reference to climate change and adaptation planning in Sweden and the Baltic countries. In this study, we want to customize and test the tool box in the three urban areas Cochabamba (Bolivia), Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Kota (India). These cities represent large growing regions (but not megacities) in different countries, facing sustainable development challenges together with varied and difficult water situations and anticipated harmful climate change impacts. The project outcome will contribute to improved urban water management for sustainable climate change adaptation in developing countries through an improved methodology of vulnerability assessments, contribution to capacity building and social learning, and specific empirical understanding of the three case study contexts.

Håkan Tropp• The role of NGOs in urban environmental management was studied by PhD Håkan Tropp (photo to the right). He defended his doctoral dissertation thesis in 1999 on Patronage, Politics and Pollution. Precarious NGO-State Relationships: Urban Environmental issues in South India”. Håkan Tropp is now working as Project Director at Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), and as Advisor to the UNDP Water Governance Facility (WGF) managed by and funded by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Swedish Agency for International Development Cooperation (Sida), but located at SIWI in Stockholm. This programme supports development countries to improve water governance. Adhering to the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the WGF promotes ”Prudent water management crucial for reaching national development objectives and for improving the livelihoods of poor people.
Håkan Tropp is also one of leading organisers behind World Water Weeks, the grand water research conferences that SIWI arranges in Stockholm in late August every year. More information about the World Water Week in Stockholm.

PhD Lotta Andersson defended her doctoral dissertation at the department in 1999. Together wih Prof. Lundquist she has been responsible for the above projects and has collaborated with several colleagues in South Asia.

Jenny Grönwall• PhD Jenny Grönwall defended her doctoral dissertation titled ”Access to water Rights, obligations and the Bangalore situation” on Wednesday 4 June 2008. Faculty opponent was Professor S. Janakarajan, Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS), Chennai, India. More information.
ThesisAbstract: The city of Bangalore in southern India is undergoing rapid urbanisation and administrative transition. Its growth puts pressure on the available water sources – being mainly the disputed inter-State River Cauvery and the hard-rock aquifers – with ensuing problems of access. These aspects affect how rights to and over water are fulfilled and perceived. Competition for drinking water is intensifying worldwide and over a billion people are estimated to lack safe access to it. Urbanisation and other demographic trends, along with globalisation and climate change, are adding to the changing patterns of water scarcity. The role of rights in attaining and improving access to water is undoubtedly great and often referred to in the general water management debate. The notion is analysed here as having three interlinked dimensions: the right to water as a human right; water as a property right; and water rights. Law treats these rights, and thereby water, differently. For instance, groundwater has traditionally been thought of as invisible and unpredictable. Partly for this reason, it is still left largely unregulated in many parts of the world. In India, according to the proverb, ‘the landlord is a water lord’. This has effects on the claim for water as a human right. The dissertation shows that we cannot talk in terms of water and rights until we are aware of how complex rights apply simultaneously, and how they correspond to obligations.

During her field work Jenny Grönwall also met representatives for the Bangalore based organisation Oxfam – India, since several years working with the South India Water Management Programme, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida. They carry out a programme in the Gundar River basin, Tamil Nadu, and in Arkavathi, Karnataka. These contacts mean that Grönwall has also been connected to this programme.
In June 2008, Dr. Jenny Grönwall moved to the Dept. of Systems Ecology at Stockholm University where she pursued a post-doc study focusing on urban development in Bangalore city, India, for two years.
From March 2011, Jenny Grönwall works as Technical Officer at the WaterWise division, Abu Dhabi Regulation and Supervision Bureau in the United Arab Emirates. This is a government agency aiming at enhancing water efficiency in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.new

Mats LannerstadMats Lannerstad has also worked on South India project. His education and field of expertise focuses on water from different research discipline angles, and stretches from local freshwater ecology concerns to water related and water dependent global agricultural changes and challenges.
On Monday 20 April 2009, he defended his doctoral dissertation entitled ”Water Realities and Development Trajectories – Global and Local Agricultural Production Dynamics”. Faculty opponent was Professor Paul Appasamy from Karunya University in Coimbatore, India. The thesis focuses on the water and agricultural production complexity in a global, regional and local perspective during different phases of development. It addresses the river basin closing process in light of consumptive water use changes, land use alterations, past and future food production in waterscarce developing countries in general, and a south Indian case study basin in particular, the Bhavani basin in Tamil Nadu. The study focuses on early phases of global agricultural development and addresses consumptive use and river depletion in response to land use change and irrigation expansion. It shows that focus must be shifted from a water use to a consumptive water use notion that considers both green and blue water resources. More information, including abstract. new
During his research work, he was involved in a Comprehensive Assessment project run by the International Water Management Institute.

Dr. Lannerstad is now working at Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), as a Research Fellow. He is the project leader and co-author of a joint book project between the SEI and the Stockholm Resilience Centre. The book centres on water for food and ecosystems, and will build on recent advancements in socio-ecological resilience and place the entire water-food-ecosystem nexus in the global environmental change perspective. His resent work centres on global water requirements for food production to meet the needs and demands of a growing, and still partly starving, world population, and water resource management on river basin scale, in a basin closure perspective. new

• Apart from the above mentioned research projects, staff has been involved in the preparation of bi-lateral agreement between India and Sweden (1996-1998). The department is also engaged in other networks, i e apart from SASNET, where partners from India participate. River Basin Management, for instance, is a topic, which is subject to comparative studies under the auspices of the International Hydrological Programme (UNESCO), including India, New Zealand and South Africa.

• In the Fall 2002 Dr Prakash Nelliyat, environmental economist from Madras School of Economics, Chennai, India, spent two months at the department, on a scholarship from the World Bank. Nelliyat, who had assisted Anna Blomqvist previously, was himself working on a doctoral thesis on the Industrial Water Pollution in Tiruppur. On 2 October 2002, he held a SASNET lecture at Lund University, on ”Environmental cost of T-shirts. The case of Tirupur, India”.
On 22 November 2006, Prakash Nelliyat defended his doctoral dissertation titled ”Industrial Growth and Environmental Degradation A Case Study of Industrial Pollution in Tiruppur” at the University of Madras. He is now working as a Research Associate at Madras School of Economics together with Professor Paul P Appasamy (who also was his supervisor for the thesis project).
Abstract: The thesis deals with the rapid economic growth achieved after globalization, and how it has adversely affected the quality of the environment, imposed considerable social costs and livelihood impacts and has become a major threat to sustainable development. It studies an attempt towards the operationalization of sustainable development strategies through a case study of Tiruppur, a major textile cluster in South India, where around 700 units are discharging more than 80 million litres per day of effluents without proper treatment. Even though industries incurred large expenditure for pollution abatement through the construction of 278 Individual Effluent Treatment Plants (IETPs) and 8 Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs), the treatment system is insufficient for reducing total dissolved solids (TDS) or salts particularly chloride and sulphate. The industries in Tiruppur themselves have been affected by pollution. Since their own wells were contaminated, industries had to transport a major share of the required water from peripheral villages at a cost of above Rs. 90 crore per year. Subsequently, a major public-private scheme was developed bring water from the Cauvery River from a distance of 55 Km. There is also evidence of pollution impact on human health and biodiversity. A comparison of the relevant economic indicators and environmental indicators for Tiruppur clearly reveals that the industrial growth in Tiruppur has not been environmentally sustainable, due to the failure of markets, policies and institutions. The thesis concludes with recommendations of certain policies for achieving environmentally sustainable industrial development of Tiruppur. Read the full abstract of the thesis (as a pdf-file).

World Water WeekDr. Nelliyat regularly participates in the Stockholm World Water Week, held every year in August. In the 2007 World Water Week he lectured about ”Financing Water Supply through Public-Private Partnerships: Lessons from an Indian Case Study”, in a session titled ”Progress on Financing Water Services”. The session was convened by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) together with Global Water Partnership (GWP) and EU Water Initiative – Finance Working Group (EUWI-FWG). More information.

Back to Research

Search the SASNET Web Index

SASNET - Swedish South Asian Studies Network/Lund University
Address: Scheelevägen 15 D, SE-223 70 Lund, Sweden
Phone: +46 46 222 73 40
Webmaster: Lars Eklund
Last updated 2011-04-28