A photo of a water body with ducks swimming and with vegetation nearby

Department of
Humanities and Social Sciences

Photo of Bejoy K. Thomas

Bejoy K. Thomas

Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Academics, Graduate Studies)

Humanities and Social Sciences

Water management; environmental sustainability and development


Bejoy Thomas joined IISER Pune in 2019 as an Associate Professor. Prior to that he was a Fellow at ATREE, Bangalore (2008-2019). Originally trained in Economics, he received a PhD in Development Studies (2009) from Tilburg University, The Netherlands. He has held visiting positions in University of Waterloo, Canada (2016) and The University of British Columbia, Canada (2017). He is also part of the Centre for Water Research at IISER Pune.


Water management

Bejoy looks at water management in an integrated manner taking a river basin perspective. His research on water is interdisciplinary and collaborative with inputs from social sciences, engineering and environmental studies. Bejoy is specifically interested in the questions of adaptation, water access and use in agricultural and domestic sectors. He uses empirical insights to understand the normative implications, such as justice (both ecological and social), equity and fairness.


Environmental sustainability and development

Bejoy is interested in the larger question of how to reconcile the conflicting objectives of development (broadly defined as human well-being) and sustainability (maintaining natural resources across generations). Households might not be water-poor, but water supply might come from unsustainable means, such as over extracting groundwater. Climate action and development goals involve trade-offs and unintended effects. Bejoy looks at such incompatibilities using empirical research.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Nair, J. & B.K. Thomas, 2023, ‘Why is Adoption of Micro-irrigation Slow in India? A Review’, Development in Practice, 33(1): 76-86

Thomas, B.K., S. Bhar & S. Chakravarty, 2021, ‘Imagining Sustainability Beyond COVID-19 in India’, Ecology, Economy and Society, 4(1): 13-20

Swatuk, L. A., B.K. Thomas, L. Wirkus, F. Krampe, & L.P.B. da Silva, 2021, ‘The 'Boomerang Effect': Insights for Improved Climate Action’, Climate and Development, 13(1): 61-67

Patil, V. S, B.K. Thomas, S. Lele, M. Eswar & V. Srinivasan, 2019, 'Adapting or Chasing Water? Crop Choice and Farmers' Responses to Water Stress in Peri Urban Bangalore, India', Irrigation and Drainage, 68(2): 140-51

Lele, S., V. Srinivasan, B.K. Thomas & P. Jamwal, 2018, 'Adapting to Climate Change in Rapidly Urbanizing River Basins: Insights from a Multiple Concerns, Multiple Stressors, and Multi Level Approach', Water International, 43(2): 281-304

Srinivasan, V., B.K. Thomas, P. Jamwal & S. Lele, 2013, ‘Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation of Water Provisioning in Developing Countries: Approaches to Disciplinary and Research-Practice Integration’, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 5(3-4): 378–83

Thomas, B.K., 2008, ‘Methodological Debate in Poverty Studies: Towards ‘Participatory Qual-quant’?’, Development in Practice, 18(2): 280-8

Popular articles

Thomas, B.K. & R. Mulay, 2023, 'Why NEP 2020 provides an opportunity to include water in higher education curricula', The Indian Express, May 16. 

Singh, A., J. M. Monteiro & B.K. Thomas, 2021, ‘Long term rainfall patterns and flooding in Pune city’, Mongabay India, July 9.