Dr. Saravanan Subramanian

Academic qualifications

University of Queensland, AUS Ph.D. (Geographical Sciences and Planning)
University of Cambridge, UK  M.Phil (Environment and Development)
University of Pune, India Dip. Development Planning & Mngt
University of Madras, India

M.Sc. Applied Geography

University of Madras, India B.Sc. Geography

Fields of Research

  • Integrated water resources management
  • Socio-epidemiology
  • Urban metabolism
  • Political Ecology
  • Urban studies
  • Public Health


  • 2019 -2020  Member in the Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture (WASAG) International Working Group on `drought`and  `Water and Nutrition´ -IFPRI/FAO/SIWI.

    2014 till date -  Member of the Association of American Geographers

    2015 till date - Visiting Professor –Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), New Delhi, India.

    2015 till date - International Faculty – School of Business, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore, India.

    2015 till date - Associated Fellow, Berlin Workshop in Institutional Analysis of Socio-Ecological Systems, Humboldt University, Berlin

Employment history

1st  April 2021 – 

German Development Institute/ Deutsches Institut fur Entwicklungspolitik

Senior Researcher (Water Governance)


1st February 2020 –

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

Consultant (50% position)                                


1st August 2020 – 31st March 2021

Technical University Munich

Research Scientist (50% Position)  


1st January 2007 – 31st December 2017

Centre for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn.

Senior Researcher                                                                              


1st Aug 2002 – 5th Mar 2003

Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.  

Senior Research Associate               


1st January 2000–30th July 2002

National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), New Delhi.

Junior Economist & Consultant      


1st Nov. 1998-30 October 1999

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) (environmental Advocacy institute), New Delhi.

Research Fellow                                                                                   


1st Sep.1996 - 30th Sep 1997

Centre for Development Studies and Activities (CDSA), University of Pune.

Project Planner                                                                                                                    


1st Sep. 1994 - 30th Aug.1996

Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN). Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

Project Executive                                                                                                                .


15th Oct. 1991-15thMay 1992

University of Madras.

Research Assistant

Publications (Selected)

a. Internationally Reviewed Articles

1.             Saravanan V.S., Asaaga, F., Bell, J., Purse, B.V., King, C.M., McDonell, R., Misra, A., Salman, M., Stefanski, R., Stephanie, Lako., Svaboda, M., Tsegai, D., Wasongo, O.V., & Jia, X. 2021.  Thinking Ahead: Drought Resilience and COVID-19. The Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture (WASAG) Discussion Paper. Rome, FAO.

2.         Min Jung Cho, V.S. Saravanan & Eun, K.J. (2021). Governing the Pandemics: Moving towards an Assertive Institutional Environment. Journal of Global Health. 11. doi:10.7189/jogh.11.03021

3.             Saravanan, V.S., Min Jung Cho & Fotima Mukhitdinova (2018) Health Risk in Urbanizing Regions: Examining the Nexus of Water Infrastructure, Hygiene and Health in Tashkent Province, Uzbekistan. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.15, 2578. http://http://doi:10.3390/ijerph15112578 

4.             Saravanan,V.S. (2018) Situated politics of urban health in India: Everyday mobility of health implications. World Development. Vol. 104. Pg 375-387.

5.             Panagiota, K and Saravanan,V.S. (2017) Biopolitics Gone to Shit? State Narratives versus Everyday Realities of Water and Sanitation in the Mekong Delta. World Development, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2017.01.008

6.             Saravanan, V.S., Idenal M.A., Saiyed, S, Saxena, D and Gerke, S. (2016). Urbanization and Human Health in Urban India: Institutional analysis of water-borne diseases in urban India’.  Health Policy & Planning. doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czw039

7.             Saravanan, V.S., (2015). Agents of Institutional Change: Contribution of new institutionalism in understanding water governance in India. Environment Science and Policy. 53, 225-235. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2015.01.012

8.             Saravanan, V.S., Mavalankar, D., Kulkarni, S., Nussbaum, S., and Weigelt, M. (2015). Metabolized Water Breeding Diseases in Urban India: Socio-spatiality of Water Problems and Health Burden in Ahmedabad City. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 19(1), 93-103.

9.             Saravanan, V.S and D. Gondhalekar. 2014. Can water supply and sanitation be a 'preventive medicine’? Water International Policy Briefing. March 2014.

10           Saravanan, V.S. 2013. Urbanizing Diseases: Contested institutional terrain of water-and vector-borne diseases. Water International, 38(7): 875-886.

11.          Saravanan, V.S. and D Gondhalekar. 2013. Special Issue on Water Supply and Sanitation as a 'preventive medicine': Challenges in rapidly growing economies. Water International, 38(7): 867-874.

12.          Gondhalekar, D., Mollinga, P.P and Saravanan.V.S. 2013. Towards a Systematic Comparative Water and Health Research. Water International, 38.7: 967-976.

13.          Saravanan, V.S., P. Sakdapolrak and C. Butch. 2012. Urban Health in South Asia: Case Studies from India and Bangladesh. International Asienforum, 43 (1-2): 7-11.

14.          Butch, C., P. Sakdapolrak and Saravanan.V.S. 2012. Urban Health in India. International Asienforum, 43 (1-2): 13-32.

15.          Saravanan, V.S., Mollinga, P.P and Bogardi J.K.M. (2011) Global Change, Water and Health in Fast Growing Economies. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. Vol3, 461-466.

16.          Saravanan, V.S. 2010. Negotiating participatory irrigation management in the Indian Himalayas. Agriculture Water Management, 97: 651-658.

17.          Saravanan, V.S., McDonald. G T., van Horen Basil, and David Ip (2010). ‘Policies are never implemented, but negotiated: Integration of Policies in Framing Water Management Problem: Analysing Policy Processes using Bayesian Network, in Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research. 2(2): 117-136.

18.          Saravanan, V.S., McDonald, T Geoff, and Peter P Mollinga (2009) ‘A Critical Review of IWRM: Moving beyond Polarised Discourse’, Natural Resources Forum. 33(1), 76-86.

19.          Saravanan, V.S. 2008. ‘A Systems Approach to Unravel Complex Water Management Institutions’, Ecological Complexity. Vol 5, Issue 3, pp. 202-215.


B             Books/ Chapters in Books

1. Prakash, Anjal, Saravanan, V.S. and Chourey, J. (2012) (editors) Interlacing Water and Human Health in South Asia- Case studies from South Asia, Sage Publications, New Delhi.

2. Mollinga, Peter P, Bhat, A and Saravanan V.S. (eds.): When Policy meets Reality: Political Dynamics and the Practice of Integration in Water Resources Management Reform. LIT Verlag, 27-60.

3. Saravanan, V.S., (2008) ‘Top-down or Bottom-up? Negotiating Water Management at the Local Level in South Asia’ in K. Lahiri-Dutt and R. Wasson (ed.) Water First: Issues and Challenges for Nations and Communities, Sage Publications, New Delhi, pg. 224-242.,%20Chap12-Kunthala%20and%20Bob,%202008.pdf

4. Saravanan, V.S. 2007. ‘Integrated Water Resource Management:  Stakeholders, their Dynamics and Institutions’ a chapter in Kumar, P and Reddy, S (eds) Ecology and Human Well-Being in India. Sage Publication, New Delhi, pg. 352-380.

5. Saravanan, V.S. and Saleth, Maria (2005). ‘Integrated Watershed Management: Examining What, Where and How’. in Sharma, Bharat., Samra, J S., Scott, Chris and Wani, P Suhas. (Eds.) Watershed Management Challenges: Improved Productivity, Resources and Livelihoods.  Page 217-244. IWMI, Sri Lanka.


c              Media publications

1.             2019. The Indian Abroad: Diaspora can be a powerful tool of soft-power diplomacy. Governance Now, Vol 10(5) pg 36-38. www.governancenow.com/views/columns/the-indian-abroad

2.             2017.  Interview with Deutsche Welle radio on the Indian Diaspora in Germany-24 May.

3.             2016. Why sexist humour isn’t so funny. www.governancenow.com/views/columns/why-sexist-humour-is-not-so-funny

4.             2016. Islam Karimov: The man who steered Uzbekistan (as Deenabandhu).  Governance Now www.governancenow.com/news/regular-story/karimov-the-man-who-steered-uzbekistan-transition-times

5.             2016. Social Solidarity in Healthcare: Lessons for India from the German healthcare system. Governance Now www.governancenow.com/views/columns/social-solidarity-in-healthcare-germany-india-health

6.             2014.  Sustainable or ‘sustaining’ development goals: Role of international agencies. Governance Now, October 16-31, pg. 48-50. www.governancenow.com/news/regular-story/sustainable-sustaining-development-goals-roel-international-agencies

7.             2014. Of jaundiced and under-the-weather supply. Governance Now, August 16-31, pg. 46-48.