Neil Palmer/IWMI.

Healthy Ganga – Cleaner Waters and More Productive Ecosystems (G10)

Healthy Ganga

This two-year project, which began in early 2015, will contribute to cleaning and restoring the Ganga’s riverine ecosystems. In collaboration with key organizations, the project will address challenges like reduced flows and the discharge of untreated toilet waste and waste water along the Ganga and its tributaries.

Map of healthy Ganga study site

Research to action

Potential users of this research include

1. Local urban authorities

  • For preparing evidence-based sanitation plans and urban action plans to abate pollution that meet the needs of vulnerable groups
  • For designing and implementing feasible and context-specific models for septage and sewage management

2. National and state authorities

Research and outputs

Reducing Fecal Pollution in Small and Medium cities

Discharge of untreated waste and wastewater into the Ganga is considered one of the major threats to the health of the river. The project will focus on the three selected cities of Unnao, Mughalsarai, and Gangaghat in the state of Uttar Pradesh, where technical, economic and institutional solutions will be analysed for reduction of pollution caused mainly by domestic wastewater and fecal sludge.

A study of the replication potential of the most promising solutions and the related costs and effectiveness of such replication will be undertaken. Innovative business models for waste reuse along with low cost wastewater treatment would also be studied.

Restoring the flow of the river

Agriculture, industrialization, population growth and an emerging middle class are rapidly increasing their water demand, a demand that is met with increasing water abstractions which are leaving many river stretches running dry. This project will study the current water uses, allocations and abstractions, and will further analyze the costs, benefits and the trade-offs of restoring environmental flows.

Environmental flows are the flows required for the maintenance of the ecological integrity of rivers, their associated ecosystems and the goods and services provided by them.

Key outputs

  • Integrated baseline assessments of three cities to identify problems and opportunities for pollution prevention
  • Catalogue of stakeholder recommended solutions for pollution abatement in the selected cities
  • Feasibility studies for the most promising solutions in the selected cities
  • New entry points for equitable engagement for women and men in pollution abatement
  • Analysis of the basin replication potential for the most promising solutions and of the benefits of such replication
  • Integrated baseline assessment of the Upper Ganges basin on major river flows, water uses and related institutions
  • Cost-Benefit analysis of environmental flows implementation
  • Trade-off analysis of environmental flows implementation
  • Framework for environmental flows implementation and trade-off management

Knowledge management and strategic communication

To encourage program outreach, IWMI along with its partners will create platforms for engaging and working with decision makers. Subject experts along with local, state and national authorities will be involved along the whole research process in both the validation of the methodologies and the results through a consultative process.

Read more in a recent editorial by Tushaar Shah of the International Water Management Institute in Science Magazine. In this editorial, Shah et al. have revived the "Ganges water machine" (GWM) concept put forward in the 1970’s. The GWM is designed to increase dependence on groundwater so as to leave more surface water for maintaining environmental flow to flush pollutants from the river.

This project is led by: