Category: Research

IGCS Team from Focus Area Water Management, Publishes Paper Linking Rainwater Harvesting and Catchment Water Balance in South India

The team consisting of IGCS Area Coordinator for the Focus Area Water Management, Prof. Dr. Nicola Fohrer, IGCS Alumni Dr. Nariman Mahmoodi and Dr. Chaogui Lei, and PD Dr. Paul D. Wagner from the Department of Hydrological and Water Resource Management at Kiel University, along with former IGCS Area Coordinator Prof. Dr. Balaji Narasimhan from the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT Madras, published a paper in Wiley‘s Hydrological Process, Volume 38, Issue 2, Feburary 2024. The team’s research is on the topic of “Enhancing hydrologic modelling through the representation of traditional rainwater harvesting systems: A case study of water tanks in South India.” (Read Here)

The study delves into the intricate dynamics of water management in South India, where strong wet and dry seasons prompted the development of water storage structures and diversions such as traditional water tanks alongside large dams. Despite their crucial role in irrigation, groundwater recharge, flood control, sediment reduction, and overall hydrological processes, these smaller water tanks have been overlooked in catchment modelling studies due to limited spatial information. Precise knowledge of such tanks and their spatial distribution can be recognized through remote sensing techniques. The team addresses the data scarcity, by using satellite imagery to quantify the hydrological properties of these water tanks. Leveraging the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT+) model, the research aims to enhance the representation of hydrological processes by integrating detailed information on water harvesting systems. By evaluating the impact of incorporating water tanks into the model, the study seeks to advance our understanding of hydrological processes in the region and improve streamflow simulations for informed water resource management.

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5th IGD on Green Urban Practices Conducted

IGCS is proud to announce that the 5th iteration of the Indo-German Dialogue was successfully conducted on 13th – 15th October 2023 at Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, South India, on the theme “Genus loci – Locality matters: Embedding sustainable transformation in local contexts”. Congratulations to IGCS-post doc Dr. Christoph Woiwode, the F5Green Foundation, and Tiruvannamalai. Over the years not only a network but also a sort of “IGD family” has grown with new delegates joining in every time. We are extremely grateful for the partnership with Renuka and Raj from F5 Green Foundation who welcomed some 30 participants to their ‘Vaan Sirappu’ Knowledge Exchange Centre on their marvellous farm in what was to be an experiential immersion to local sustainability practices and places of practice.

Sharing one’s own experiences from practice and research through case studies and field trips, in discussions, dyadic encounters, through reflective exercises and group interactions, also developing ideas to create a potential for collaborations, describes in a nutshell the format of the IGD series as a continuously evolving platform of interdisciplinary, cross-cultural Indo-German interaction. Besides plenty of sharing, talking and chatting, we explored the ‘genus loci’ by climbing the sacred mountain Arunachalamalai. We were also deeply impressed by a farmers’ collective whose members displayed their detailed, intergenerational knowledge about the ecosystem habitats related to agriculture. It has been once more an extremely rewarding and worthwhile event. A big thanks to IGCS for the co-funding and to every one and all who made this IGD such a glowing event.

Field visit by IGCS focus area “WASTE” team

IGCS focus area “WASTE” team Prof. Vinu, Prof. Dirk Weichgrebe and his Leibniz University Hannover research team, and IGCS postdoc Dr. Mozhiarasi made a field visit to OxiLoc project site (Closed Landfill Methane Oxidation) BAWN and MSW Nienburg transfer station in Lower Saxony, Germany on 27.07.2023. In continuation, on 28.07.2023, the team also visited Plastic waste sorting and recycling facility, GAR Gesellschaft für Abfall u. Recycling mbH & Co. KG Recycling park: Kätinger Heide meeting landbell company and Rest waste treatment facility, RABA BASSUM.

The field visits have been supplemented with some fruitful presentations and futuristic discussions. Overall, the field visit gave the team valuable insights on the waste segregation in recycling centers, and possible scope for building research projects and models in India through fruitful collaborations.

Dr. Woiwode conducts Sustainability Workshop Series for the Katchipattu Nook

IGCS postdoc Christoph Woiwode conducted two more workshops in the Sustainability Workshop Series for the Katchipattu Nook near Chennai on 15th and 25th May. Dr. Woiwode says:

“These sessions are tailor-designed for the learners of our self-learning space and build on each other, using explorative and experiential learning approaches to nudge the ingenuity and creativity of the kids aged between 6 to 16.

The second workshop was designed by IGCS intern Maria-Sofia Caputo, a psychologist graduate from University of Saarland. Besides generating a wonderful learning spirit and ambitions among the learners, potentials and opportunities for contributing to community development in the village are also explored. Thus, we had a fantastic arts exhibition of posters depicting favourite and likeable places as well as disliked and ugly spots, we calculated our ecological footprint and discussed how it is related to resources and carbon emissions. A field visit to the village pond helped to understand its relevance and why it is being littered. The second day concluded with crafting flower pots from plastic bottles to plant seeds and plants to beautify the Nook learning space.

We are grateful to the entire Nook team in Katchipattu for their support and the wonderful work they do every day. We shall keep you posted on the workshops to follow!”

5th Indo-German Dialogue Announced

5th Indo-German Dialogue on Green Practices:

Genus loci – Locality matters”: Embedding sustainable transformation in local contexts

Dates:  13th – 15th October 2023

Place: Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, South India

Convenors: Dr. Christoph Woiwode, IGCS at IIT Madras, in collaboration with F5Green Foundation, Tiruvannamalai

After a break of three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are planning to launch the 5th iteration of the Indo-German Dialogue on Green (Urban) Practices (IGD).

This year’s focus is on place specificity and how locality matters for sustainable development. embedding sustainable transformation in local contexts in terms of their cultural, social, ecological, economic and other dimensions. We acknowledge that there exist different worldviews in India and across India and Germany. Can we identify those to explore how sustainability is brought to live in place specific contexts? This can be an endeavour to make more explicit, by becoming more aware, the underlying worldviews and values of our actions. In doing so, how can we connect locality to the worldviews and values to also probe critically what kind of transitions may be needed? And how dies the regeneration of urban places or more generally how does ‘place-making’ happen?

If you want to register please click here (https://forms.gle/jBWenCBDdjiMv5B2A)

There is no registration fee!

Anica Roßmöller research stay at IIT Madras to study Faith and Localization of SDGs in India

IGCS-fellow Anica Roßmöller, affiliated with the Institute of Political Sciences at the University Muenster participated in a research stay at the IIT Madras, Chennai, India between 3. March to 30. April 2022 for their work on the theme “The role of faith in the localization of environmental SDGs in India” under the IGCS focus area of Land Use / Rural and Urban Development. They were an alumni of the IGCS Winter School 2020 who was granted a research scholarship to continue their work on their doctoral thesis.

You can read more about their experiences in our latest edition of IGCS Experience Reports, which you can also download below:

Are you interested in research on sustainability issues? The Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) awards scholarships to students and researchers whose projects on sustainability issues benefit from a research exchange to India or Germany. Our research fellows receive a one-time travel fund in addition to a monthly scholarship. The scholarship provides travel and living expenses according to DAAD funding rates, as a rule. The Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) offers scholarships to help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

Learn more about scholarship opportunities.

Nandhini Duraimurugan’s Sediment Transport Study Published in ISH Journal

The IGCS team is thrilled to share that Nandhini Duraimurugan, recipient of the IGCS research grant for 2023, has successfully published their research article titled “Field investigation of suspended sediment transport study in the Kandla Creek, Gujarat, India” in the ISH Journal of Hydraulics. This achievement is a testament to their hard work, dedication, and innovative contributions to the scientific community. We are honored to have been a part of their journey. Congratulations, Nandhini

You can find the link to the article here.

Dr. Christoph Woiwode participated in the “Urban Sustainability and Smart City” workshop hosted by India-EU Urban Partnership Programme

As part of the India-EU Partnership, this workshop took place on 17 – 18 April, focusing on river rejuvenation, especially Chennai’s Cooum River. It was a pleasure being invited to join the EU Delegation for a talk on “Potentials of Adaptive Capacity for River Rejuvenation in Chennai: A socio-ecological Systems perspective.” The two-day event saw representatives from the Tamil Nadu Water Resources Department and several research institutions, like Anna University in Chennai, interacting with experts from the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, and Germany. A wide range of relevant topics was discussed, including potential solutions covering nature-based approaches, governance and participation, groundwater and traditional water management systems, and the relevance of the current review for the third master plan of the Chennai metropolitan region.

For more information, you can read the full article at: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/water-resources-department-looking-for-technical-support-funding-from-eu/article66767495.ece

Dr. Christoph Woiwode joins the new Centre on Water & Sustainability at IIT Madras

Dr. Christoph Woiwode, Resident Visiting Faculty in the IGCS Landuse Area at IIT Madras, is now a part of a consortium of ten faculty members establishing an interdisciplinary Research Centre at IIT Madras in “Water and Sustainability.”

In its initial phase of three years, the starting financial endowment of the center will be close to 600,000 Euros for the establishment of its research program with a focus on achieving water, carbon, and nutrient circularity in urbanizing transformations. Dr. Woiwode will be co-leading with Prof Chella Rajan on the socio-political component of water and land-use governance to provide research about the water-food-energy nexus.

A core methodological design approach of the center is applying a transdisciplinary research design within the framework of real-world/living labs to produce solution-oriented and relevant outcomes toward sustainable and climate-resilient urban agglomerations in the Global South. This builds on previous research carried out on periurbanization in Chennai.

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Katchupedu Nook Celebrates First Achievements

On the outskirts of Chennai, the IGCS’s land-use area project, Katchipedu Nook, celebrated its first show of achievements by the young learners of a deprived community on Sunday, 27th November. The kids moderated the program and were supported by the two Nook Managers, Sona and Venkateshan, demonstrating documentary shooting and editing, dressing table carpentry, and piano play, among other things. Sustainable practices were also showcased through recycling, reuse and upcycling in coconut-shell jewellery, crochet bag making, and a drum set made entirely from plastic waste. The produce was sold with their brandmark stickers, “Katchipedu Nook”, demonstrating the kids’ entrepreneurial spirit!


The Nook is a self-learning and skill development centre where individuals can redefine and design education for themselves. The space provides a conducive environment to foster curiosity, innovation, problem-solving and critical thinking. To interact and promote self-learning, learners embark on projects where they set goals and do tangible projects to be showcased at the end of the goal cycle.

Congratulations to the team, and many thanks for a great and fun-filled show!