Updates from WELL Labs | August 2023 - March 2024

Hello everyone! Here are our updates from August 2023 - March 2024.

Urban Water Initiative

  1. Created the knowledge base on wastewater reuse potential, enabling the Government of Karnataka to formulate a policy on off-site wastewater reuse from decentralised sewage treatment plants (notification issued on 22 March 2024)

  2. Water Reuse Project | Read More

  3. Conducted a wastewater reuse governance policy and stakeholder analysis.

  4. Conducted surveys with Resident Welfare Associations and operators of on-site sewage treatment plants (STPs) at over 40 apartments in Bengaluru to understand decentralised wastewater treatment processes and challenges.

Our key learnings are that bringing together a diverse range of stakeholders in the wastewater sector can help uncover gaps and opportunities. Also the key issue in decentralised wastewater treatment is determining the optimal scale for effective treatment.

  1. Mallapalli Lake Restoration, Chintamani, Karnataka: Conducted lake visioning exercise with community members and developed a monitoring and evaluation framework for lake restoration | Read More

Products and Platforms Team

  1. Green Rural Economy:

  2. Developed and beta-launched the Green Rural Economy platform to seek insights from civil society organisations | Read More

  3. Held ‘clinics’ to facilitate and document information exchange | Read More

  4. Conducted webinar sessions for civil society organisations to create playbooks on the topics they specialise in.

  5. Research Public Square: Curated research questions posed by civil society organisations with the intention of surfacing questions from the ground to be answered by academia. This will help CSOs improve their evidence base and accordingly finetune their strategies

  6. Created an empirical farm-scale tool to evaluate short-term trade-offs in agroecological transitions

Technical Consulting Team

  1. Jaltol web app is live! It helps civil society organisations with planning, monitoring and evaluation. It currently curates publicly available datasets for land use land cover, population, and precipitation.
  2. Partnered with IHE Delft and ACIWRM to understand and improve community-driven applications of remote sensing data in India’s Krishna river basin. Created a land use land cover map-based tool to aggregate farm-scale scenarios at a command-area scale | Read More
  3. Partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund to scientifically evaluate JalTara, a water-saving intervention developed by the Save Groundwater Foundation in Maharashtra’s Jalna district | Read More

Rural Futures Initiative

  1. Conducted research on

  2. The relevance Of rural aspirations to sustainable transitions

  3. Diversifying income sources to incentivise smallholder farmers

  4. Equitable transition to regenerative agriculture using a ‘ladder’ approach

Community and Outreach

Conferences, Roundtables & Events

  1. Building Water-Resilient Cities: Strategies for Wastewater Reuse in Urban India, October 2023 | Read More

Our key learnings are that bringing together a diverse range of stakeholders in the wastewater sector can help uncover gaps and opportunities. Also the key issue in decentralised wastewater treatment is determining the optimal scale for effective treatment.

  1. Launch of the Green Rural Economy consortium and platform, January 2024 | Read More

We learned that what works are referrals from other CSOs on tried-and-tested vendors and trainers. Along with this, their recommendations of resources or logistical partners they used during implementation also help an organisation make use of this platform. For organisations to actually contribute playbooks, there needs to be incentives in place.

  1. Raichur Roundtable: Equitable Water-Sharing for Sustainable Transitions in Agriculture, March 2024 | Read More

Our key learnings are that there is a need to innovate. Also current canal automation systems are too expensive. Farmers are willing to pay for water if they receive water of reasonable quantity in a reliable and timely manner.

  1. Data for Water Security Hackathon, March 2024 | Read More


  1. How Water Flows Through Bengaluru: Urban Water Balance Report | Read Here

Our key learning is that the large dependence on groundwater indicates that peri-urban water security is at threat. There is immense scope for rainwater harvesting and wastewater treatment and reuse to boost water security.

  1. Challenges and Opportunities for Catalysing Corporate Water Stewardship in India’s River Basins | Read Here

Our key learning is that fragmented water governance results in poor interagency coordination needed to address the links between energy and water, surface and groundwater, water sourcing and wastewater treatment and water services delivery and water source sustainability. The limited availability of platforms for stakeholder

participation is another reason that only bureaucrats make management decisions,

resulting in top-down approaches to water-related challenges.

  1. Emerging Challenges in Rural WASH: A WELL Labs Report on Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for The/Nudge Institute | Read Here

Our key learnings are that there is a requirement of capacity building to strengthen the role of micro planners for community mobilisation and to ensure appropriate adoption of greywater treatment technologies. There is also a need for a frontline cadre of workers to undertake roles such as addressing demand management and helping farming communities avail different government subsidies to enable a transition to sustainable practices of irrigation and farming.

  1. Mapping Water in a Small Town: Data and Insights on Water Management in Chintamani, Karnataka | Read Here

Our key learnings are that understanding the aquifer is key to sustainable groundwater management. Rejuvenation of water bodies and improving sewage treatment are key to meeting town demand and lowering groundwater dependence.

Media Publications

WELL Labs was quoted by The Associated Press. We reached out to a global wire service like AP because they provide news to 1,700 member newspapers and 6,000 member television and radio stations in the United States alone. Another 8,500 subscribers in 110 countries carry AP stories. Some of the big publications that carried this story are: The Washington Post, The Independent, The Hill, Seattle Times, Bloomberg, CNBC, ABC News, Voice of America, National Post, Taipei Times, Yahoo News (UK, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada), 9News (Australia), Khaleej Times, Gulf News, Mainichi (Japan) and Toronto Star.

WELL Labs’ work has also been featured in over a dozen media outlets, such as The Hindu, IndiaSpend, The Print and Revolve. You can view a selection of media publications here.