Durba Biswas

Fellow, Centre for Environment and Development, ATREE

Research Areas
Water resources economics, economic valuation, institutions, water and gender, sanitation and gender.

2011. Ph.D. (Environmental Economics), Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bangalore.
2004. M.Sc. (Economics). Madras School of Economics (MSE), Chennai.
2002. B.A. (Economics). Ethiraj College for Women, Madras University, Chennai.


• Apoorva, R. D. Biswas, and V. Srinivasan (forthcoming). “Do household surveys estimate tap water use accurately? Evidence from pressure sensor based estimates in Coimbatore, India”. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development.
• Biswas, D. and P. Jamwal (2017). “Swachh Bharat Mission: What we need to know about groundwater contamination in peri-urban India”. Economic and Political Weekly (forthcoming).
• Biswas, D. and Veena Srinivasan (2017). Domesticating water: The challenges in Indian cities in Transcending boundaries: Reflecting on twenty years of action and research at ATREE [Eds.] Ankila.J. Hiremath, Nitin. D. Rai and Ananda Siddhartha.
• Mukherjee, S. and D. Biswas (2016). "An Enquiry into Equity Impact of Groundwater Markets in the Context of Subsidised Energy Pricing: A Case Study". Society & Management Review. 5(1) 63–73. Sage.
• Biswas, D. and L. Venkatachalam (2016). Economic Analysis of Irrigation Institutions: A Case Study in Environment and Development Essays in Honour of Dr U. Sankar [Eds.] K. R. Shanmugam and K. S. Kavi Kumar. Pp: 267-291. New Delhi: Sage.
• Biswas, D. (2015). “Anchoring effect in context of a familiar good: case of irrigation water supply in rural India”. The Bangladesh Development Studies (BIDS). 38(4) 91-100.
• Biswas, D. and L. Venkatachalam (2015). “Farmers’ willingness to pay for improved irrigation water– A case study of Malaprabha Irrigation Project in Karnataka, India”. Water Economics and Policy, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2015) 1450004 (24 pages) © World Scientific Publishing Company DOI: 10.1142/S2382624X14500040.
• Biswas, D. and L. Venkatachalam (2010). “Institutions and their Interactions: An Economic Analysis of Irrigation Institution in Malaprabha Dam Project Area, Karnataka, India”. ISEC Working Paper Series, N0. 250.
• Biswas, D. (2009). “Willingness to pay for improvements in irrigation water: the case of Malaprabha Basin, Karnataka, India”. Review of Development and Change, MIDS, Chennai.

Newspaper Articles/Popular Media

• Biswas, D. and Shenoy, M (2018) “No more use and Throw?” The Hindu: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/no-more-use-and-throw/ar...
• Jamwal, P. and Biswas, D. (2017) “Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan in peri-urban areas? Is groundwater being contaminated?” The NewsMinute: https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/govt-s-swachh-mission-contaminatin...
• Biswas, D. (2017) “Has Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan actually worked for women and children?” Catch News: http://www.catchnews.com/india-news/has-swacch-bharat-abhiyaan-actually-....


• Role of Institutions on Value of Water. Paper presented in World Water Week, Stockholm, Sweden, August 16-20, 2004, Stockholm International Water Institute, Sweden.
• Estimation of Economic Value of Irrigation Water. Paper presented in the workshop on Interdisciplinary Research Methodology, January 2008, Madras Institute for Development Studies, Chennai.
• Climate Change and Policy Blind-Spots: A Review. Paper presented at Colloquium on Citizen Voices in Environmental Governance. August 23-24, 2012, Public Affairs Centre, Bangalore.
• Farmers’ willingness to pay for improved irrigation water– A case study of Malaprabha Irrigation Project in Karnataka, India. Paper presented in international seminar on Natural resources and National Accounts in South Asia, Feburary 5-6, 2015, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.
• Can market based instruments lead to efficient reallocation of canal irrigation water? An exploratory study (Co-Author). Paper presented in National Development Convention on Resources, Institutions and Development: Contestations and Possibilities in Globalizing India, February 11-12, 2015, Gujarat Institute of Development Studies.
• Patterns and drivers of household water consumption in Coimbatore (co-authored with U. Devasenadhipathi [first author], Veena Srinivasan and Sharad Lele). Paper presented at the 8th Biennial Conference of INSEE on the theme of Urbanization and the Environment, January 4-6, 2016, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
• Inter-and intra-household dynamics of domestic water access in urban slums: A case study of Coimbatore. Paper presented in International Seminar on Anthropology and Global Climate Change: Local Knowledge, Cultural Adaptation and Resilience among the Indigenous Peoples, February 15 – 16, 2016, Department of Anthropology, University of Hyderabad, India.
• Future of River Basin: Looking beyond Cauvery. Participated in the one-day Consultation Workshop at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore on November 17, 2016.
• Blueprint for Water Accounting in India. Participant in a one day workshop on 11th April, 2017 in New Delhi, organised by The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MOWR), in partnership with India-EU Water Partnership (IEWP) and 2030 Water Resources Group (2030WRG).

Invited Talks and Panel Discussions
• Water & Gender: Insights from an Urban Slum Survey. Talk given at NIAS-DST Training Programme for Women Scientists on Science for Progress in India: Focus on Sustainability February 08-12, 2016, Bangalore on 9th Feb, 2016.
• Invited for a panel discussion on the theme “Gender and Environment” at the National Conference on Environment, Economy and Human Wellbeing organized by The Department of Economics, Christ University, March 1-2, 2016, Bangalore.
• Invited for a Panel Discussion on 'Wastewater-a curse or an untapped resource?' on March 23, 2017 (Thursday) from 3:45 PM - 5:00 PM in ATREE.


Principle Investigator: Evaluating the integration of Gender and WASH under SDG6 in India. In collaboration with SOPPECOM, Utthan, and JCS. Proposal submitted to Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Principle Investigator: Groundwater and Sanitation nexus in Peri-Urban Small Towns of Bangalore project funded by Argyam (completed). http://www.atree.org/gasnipustob.

Co-Principle Investigator from ATREE: Decentralised wastewater treatment – global innovation for sustainable rural communities. In collaboration with the James Hutton Institute (Scotland) and IISc (India). Project funded by The Scottish Government (ongoing).

Contributor: Adapting to Climate Change in Urbanising Watersheds (ACCUWa): A socio-hydrological research project in the Arkavathy and Noyyal river basins. Project Funded by IDRC, Canada (Completed).

Co- Principle Investigator: Strategic In-stream Systems (STRAINS): A Decentralized, Anticipatory Approach to Urban Wastewater Contamination within India’s Emerging Cities. Proposal Submitted to HCL, India.

Co-Principle Investigator from ATREE: Decentralised ecological wastewater treatment solutions for surface water bodies in India. In collaboration with the James Hutton Institute (Scotland), IISc (India), and University of Abertay (Scotland). Proposal submitted to The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), UK.


Fellow. July 2015-present. Centre for Environment and Development, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore, India.

Post Doctoral Fellow. June 2013 – July 2015. Centre for Environment and Development, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore, India.

Post Doctoral Associate. December 2012 – May 2013. The School of Social Sciences, National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore. Worked under DST Project entitled "Social technological solutions for major water challenges facing India".

Research Associate. January 2012-June 2012. National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NCAP), New Delhi.

Consultant Economist. September 2010 – June 2011. International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Colombo, Srilanka and Delhi, India.

Professional Membership
Indian Society for Ecological Economics (INSEE).