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Centre for Water Research

The Centre for Water Research (CWR) is an interdisciplinary initiative at IISER Pune formed in November 2020. It draws upon expertise from faculty across different departments at the institute.

CWR aims to generate interdisciplinary knowledge about water systems, including their history and heritage, resource management and sustainable use, and to train the next generation of scholars to look at water from an integrated/multi-dimensional lens. CWR also provides a platform for IISER Pune to engage in socially relevant research that will have impact on public policy and action. CWR will engage in research, teaching/training and outreach. Activities at CWR are primarily undertaken by the faculty along with their students and external collaborators.

Research at CWR looks at fundamental and applied aspects of water management, including the hydroclimate of South Asia, river basin management, water quality, environmental flows, livelihoods and water use across sectors (agricultural, domestic, industrial), historical/cultural aspects and water institutions/policy. Research output will be in the form of dissertations, peer reviewed publications and popular articles.

An advisory group comprising of water scholars and practitioners based in Pune and elsewhere provides inputs to CWR in its research and outreach. The advisory group members include Dr. Himanshu Kulkarni, Dr. Jagdish Krishnaswamy, Prof. James Wescoat, Mr. K. J. Joy, Prof. Margreet Zwarteveen and Ms. Shailaja Deshpande. 

The Science Activity Centre (SAC) at IISER Pune partners with CWR in outreach activities.

The Living Waters Museum (LWM) is part of the CWR. Launched in 2017, the Living Waters Museum is a virtual repository curating visual narratives on our water heritage: natural, built and cultural. Engaging youth through storytelling, the creative arts and interactive digital media, the Museum is a member of the Global Network of Water Museums, endorsed by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Hydrology Program as a special initiative towards SDG 6. Building off its work in Mumbai (, the Museum is currently documenting changing urban waterscapes in Pune and Kolkata, working in collaborative partnerships to visualise the growing socio-ecological challenges facing our everyday lives around water.

For more information on CWR, write to CWR Team at 

LWM welcomes expressions of interest in developing new content: please contact Dr. Sara Ahmed or

Research Projects


  • Observation and modelling of the water cycle in Chandra and Upper Alaknanda Basins.  Study of water cycle in the Upper Ganga catchment using isotope, geochemical data, and model simulation: Argha Banerjee
  • Launched Confluence at Mumbai Water Narratives on March 22, 2021: Sara Ahmed
  • Punyache Paani – Stories of Pune’s Waters, an exhibition on Pune’s urban waterscapes: Chhavi Mathur
  • Water Classrooms and Ripples, Reimagining Learning on Water: Chhavi Mathur


  • fairSTREAM (2022-24), a project on Bhima basin in partnership with IIASA, Austria, and SOPPECOM, Pune: Bejoy Thomas
  • Development of Metal-organic Frameworks (MOFs) based Sensory Materials for Detection of Environmental Pollutants in Water (Ongoing SERB funded project): Sujit Ghosh
  • Water Audit of IISER-Pune Campus: Bejoy Thomas, Argha Banerjee, Radhika Mulay
  • Historical and Cultural Survey of Mula-Mutha River: Pushkar Sohoni, Radhika Mulay
  • Establishment of a Water Testing Lab: Gyana Tripathy
  • AQUAMUSE: Facilitating just and sustainable water futures through water museums, digital media and the arts: Sara Ahmed, Shalini Sharma, Radhika Mulay 
  • Know your Water: Water Education in the Schools: Proposal for collaboration between Science Activity Centre (SAC), Centre for Water Research (CWR),
    Centre for Chemistry Education and Research (CCER), Living Waters Museum (LWM)


Faculty Research Group for Centre for Water Research

  • Pushkar Sohoni (Chair, CWR)
    Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Bejoy K. Thomas
    Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Deepak Barua
  • Sara Ahmed
    Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Amrita Hazra
  • Gyana Ranjan Tripathy
    Earth and Climate Science
  • Shalini Sharma
    Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Aparna Deshpande
  • Joy Merwin Monteiro
    Earth and Climate Science
  • Argha Banerjee
    Earth and Climate Science
  • Sharachchandra Lele
    Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Pinaki Talukdar
  • Sujit K. Ghosh