Home » SWEDISH UNIVERSITIES ENGAGED IN SOUTH ASIA RESEARCH 2015 » Linköping University, 2015 » Department of Water and Environmental Studies, Tema Institute, Linköping University, 2015

Department of Water and Environmental Studies, Tema Institute, Linköping University, 2015

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 persons:  Associate Professor Julie Wilk, phone: +46 (0)13 28 44 63.
                             – Associate Professor Anna Jonsson, phone: +46 (0)11 36 32 34. 

Water and Environmental Studies (Tema V) is part of TEMA, a two-campus Department with single subjects at undergraduate level as well as centers and research environments. Among the single subjects there are both discipline oriented (Geography) and interdisciplinary oriented ones (Environmental Studies), as well as one professionally oriented subject (Social Work). At TEMA there are four research areas called Themes (in Swedish teman):
– Child Studies;
– Gender Studies;
– Technology and Social Change; and
– Water and Environmental Studies (Tema V).
   At the Department there is also PhD programmes in Communication Studies and Food Studies.

TEMA is also host to three Centres with interdisciplinary profiles:
– The Centre for Gender Studies; 
– The Centre for People, Technology and Society (CMTS = Centrum för Människa, Teknik och Samhälle); and
– The Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research (CSPR – in Norrköping). See SASNET’s special page on CSPR

Tema V began its activities in 1980 on a rather modest scale, but grown into becoming a 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 later worked at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). Between 2003 and 2011 he chaired SIWI’s Scientific Programme Committee, and was 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
Prof. Lundqvist is now retired, but is still actively involved in SIWI work. On World Environment Day 2013, SIWI launched WASTE – a short film on the environmental cost of food waste. The film is a cooperation between SIWI, WWF Germany, UNEP and FAO, and builds on Taste the Waste of Water, a campaign SIWI launched at the 2012 World Water Week. See the film on the web.

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. 
More information about the programme. Contact person: Susanne Eriksson

Current South Asia related research projects:

Researchers from the department has been involved in several 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.

Associate Professor Julie Wilk 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. It 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. More information
Anna is now Director for the Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, hosted by the department, at Linköping University’s Campus Norrköping. She is a hydrogeographer with long experience in hydrological modelling, GIS applications and data collection and validation of statistical and local knowledge about natural resources. Personal web page.

Dr. Anna Jonsson defended her PhD thesis at the department in 1996. The title was: ”Food and Fashion. Water Management and Collective Action among Irrigation Farmers and Textile Industrialists in South India”. She was supervised by Prof. Jan Lundqvist. 
Anna is an institutional economist with a Bachelors degree from Lund University in 1991, and has had long experience in stakeholder oriented research on socio-economic and institutional contexts affecting water resource management. 
She is now based at the Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research at Linköping University’s Campus Norrköping. Personal web page.

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, Bolivia, and Kota, India”. A third partner in the project is Dr. Birgitta Rydhagen, employed by the Division of Technoscience Studies, School of Technoculture, Humanities and Planning, Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH) in Karlshamn, but working at the Tema V department in Linköping. More information about South Asia related Sida/SAREC grants 2010.
Field work is being carried out during 2012.
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 urban areas Cochabamba (Bolivia), 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.

Anna Jonsson is also involved as a co-partner in a research project entitled ”Climate change, water stress and adaptation: A cross-cultural study in India from gender perspective”. This project, coordinated by Dr. Ulf Johansson Dahre, Division of Social Anthropology, Lund University, and Dr. Nandita Singh, Department of Land and Water Resources Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, received SEK 3 million as a three-years grant (2012-14) from Sida’s Developing Country Research Council (U-landsforskningsrådet) in October 2011. The project is being carried out in collaboration with the Department of Policy Studies, TERI University, New Delhi. More information about the Sida grants 2011
Abstact: Climate-induced stress is emerging as an important development concern and India faces a major threat in this regard, for addressing which `community-based` adaptation has been recommend. At the level of local communities, cultural is known to play a vital role in climate adaptation which is also gender-based. However, knowledge on these fronts in water sector is fragmentary. This project aims to fulfil the gaps be enhancing understanding on the cultural wealth of local knowledge and adaptive responses towards climate-induced water stress from gender perspectives, proposing suitable recommendations for integrating these into policy and action in the sector. The research will be based upon a ‘cross-cultural’  ethnographic study in two different kinds of water-stress situations and cultural settings located in the states of Rajasthan and Bihar through long-term residential fieldwork.

Associate Professor Joyanto Routh works at the department since 2011. Previously he worked at the Department of Geology and Geochemistry, Earth Sciences Centre, Stockholm University, where he was involved in several South Asia related projects. (For a period he was also working at Örebro University).
His research interest focuses on the role of biogeochemical interactions in aquatic and sedimentary environments, and their impacts on the cycling of organic and inorganic components on different time scales. He has worked in aquifers, caves, forests, lakes, peat bogs, mangroves, and river margins, with a primary focus Climate Change; and Ground water remediation and microbial interactions.
One research project still running is the one entitled ”Asian monsoon variability and impacts on terrestrial ecosystems: High-resolution records in speleothem and lacustrine archives from northeast India”, funded by Sida’s Developing Country Research Council (U-landsforskningsrådet); and another project entitled ”Arsenic biogeochemical cycling in groundwater aquifers of the Bengal Delta Plains (West Bengal, India): Early detection and remediation issues”, funded by the Swedish Research Links programme. Both projects received funding in 2009 for the perod 2010-12. Besides, the first one of them was preceded by a SASNET planning grant in 2008.
More information about Dr. Routh’s South Asia research, see SASNET’s page on the Dept. of Geology and Geochemistry, Stockholm University
Along with Anna Jonsson, he also teaches at the MSc programme in Sustainable Development. Personal web page

In August 2009, Dr. Routh was awarded a SASNET planning grant for a research project entitled ”High-resolution Holocene paleoclimate records in glacial lakes from the northeastern Himalayas in Bhutan”. More information about the 2009 SASNET planning grants.
The aim of this project is to initiate a reconnaissance study of accessible lake systems in the northeastern Bhutan Himalayas. Most of these glacial lakes directly lie in the path of the Indian summer monsoons and experience heavy rainfall. In addition, global warming has caused several of these glacial lakes to burst repeatedly posing danger for the local people and their property (Jaxa, 2009).Specifically, we address the hypotheses that sedimentary archives in these glacial lake systems preserve detailed information of climate change in the sub-continent. Till now there has been nothing published on the geology or geochemistry of these mountain lakes.

The researchers focused on the pristine Lake Jimilangtsho located on the famous Druk Path trek between Thimpu and Paro. It is situated in the Thimpu (Phajoding) district and takes around 7 days to reach from Thimpu. The lake is ca. 460 m in length and is 200 m in breadth. The lake lies in the upper catchment of the Paro Chhu River. The lake is oblong in shape and is fed by stream in the northern part of the lake. The blocking of the exit of the flow of water by big rocks and boulders on the southern site, possibly by a landslide, has led to the formation the lake. There is evidence of rock sliding and debris flow on the southwestern margin of the lake.
Fieldwork was carried out in October 2010 by a team from Örebro University (Joyanto Routh was affiliated to Örebro University during this period), the Department of Mines and Geology, Bhutan (Samten Wangdi) and the Department of Earth Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Kolkata (Rajarshi Roychoudhary and Manoj Jaiswal). The depth of the water column at the points where the cores were collected ranged from 8 to 10 m. Since the reconnaissance sampling was conducted in 2010, the following geochemical analyses were done in these sediments. This resulted in a MSc thesis by Rajarshi Roychoudhary, which was submitted to the Department of Earth Sciences, IISER-Kolkata in May 2012.
Read an activity report on the SASNET funded project.
As of June 2012, the researchers jointly worke on a manuscript which they plan to submit after summer 2012. In addition, they were planning to submit a full proposal to research funding agencies to support their research initiatives with the Department of Mines and Geology at Bhutan in 2013. 

In November 2012 Dr. Routh together with collaboration partner Rohana Chandrajith, University of Peradeniya, received a Swedish Research Links (Asian–Swedish research partnership programme) grant on SEK 750 000 for the project “Monsoon variability and its impact on terrestrial ecosystems in Sri Lanka during the Holocene“. 
See the full list of South Asia related projects given Swedish Research Links grants 2012.
Abstract: The Indian monsoon is critical for understanding past global and regional changes in climatic conditions in south-east Asia. The strong monsoon influence has varied over time and in turn affected the landscape and vegetation through periods of intense droughts and floods. Lying directly in the path of the monsoons, Sri Lanka is strongly impacted by the SW (summer) and NE (winter) monsoons. Hence, it represents a key region for a better understanding of monsoon variability, its dynamics and long-term impact on climate. However, there have been hardly any studies of these excellent paleoclimate archives (e.g. pristine lagoons, lakes, speleothems) to investigate the response of monsoon variability. Our goals are to 1) reconstruct a high-resolution Holocene paleoclimate record based on 14C age and various geochemical proxies (e.g. sediment characteristics, trace metals, stable isotopes), 2) determine vegetation changes based on specific biomarkers, and 3) correlate the data with other proxy records from south-east Asia. We will establish a two-way knowledge exchange, and the new research initiatives and strategic collaboration will provide fresh insights, benefit exchange of students and scientists, and improve existing research facilities. Moreover, our efforts will contribute in filling knowledge gaps and generate a detailed paleoclimate record tracing past changes. This data will provide a baseline for future actions related to regional climate change and its long-term impacts. 

Professor Henrik Kylin is doing research focusing on organic environmental chemistry in the wide sense, including adjacent research areas such as environmental and human toxicology, and ecotoxicology. Much of his research has been about the global distribution of persistent organic pollutants, which has brought him on expedition to both the Polar Regions and the Tropics. Lately, his interests have been drawn more and more towards work in the Third World, including Bangladesh. 

PhD candidate Sivakiruthika Natchimuthu works at the department since 2011, after completing a Masters in Science programme at the department in Sustainable Development: Climate, Energy and Recycling. She wrote a Masters thesis entitled ”Estimating methane and carbon dioxide flux from aquatic systems in South India”. 
Her research focuses on Greenhouse gas emissions from aquatic systems is her area of interest and she is also involved in the project ‘Landscape Greenhouse Gas Exchange (LAGGE) – Integration of Terrestrial and Freshwater sources and sinks’. Her PhD research is concerned with the exchange of greenhouse gases like CH4, CO2 and N2O between water and atmosphere and how they counteract the land sink at a landscape level.

Previous research projects on South Asia:

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)

Professor Gunnar Jacks, Dept of Land and Water Resources Engineering, KTH, Stockholm; Professor K Palanisami, Water Technology Centre, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore; and Professor Paul Appasmy, Madras School of Economics, Chennai, India, were 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.

 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 was carried out in collaboration with Caroline Sullivan, an environmental and ecological economist at the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), Wallingford, UK, who had worked in the field of ”development and the environment” for over 20 years and was one of the researchers who developed the Water Poverty Index. 

In November 2005 this project, now entitled ”Defining water poverty to meet local goals, through stakeholder involvement at village level in Madhya Pradesh, India” received SEK 1 650 000 as a three-years (2006-08) research grant from Sida/SAREC. The project aimed to initiate stakeholder participation in a village within a relevant river basin in south Asia 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.
Read the final project report

Previous South Asia related PhDs

Dr. Håkan Tropp defended his doctoral dissertation thesis in 1999 on ”Patronage, Politics and Pollution. Precarious NGO-State Relationships: Urban Environmental issues in South India”. It deals with the role of NGOs in urban environmental management.
Håkan Tropp is now working as Managing Director for 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.

• Dr.  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.
Abstract: 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.

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.

Dr. Mats Lannerstad defended his doctoral dissertation entitled ”Water Realities and Development Trajectories – Global and Local Agricultural Production Dynamics” on 20 April 2009. 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.
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. 

South Asian guest researchers

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 Jonsson (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 entitled ”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).

Dr. 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.