Smart Water Future India

Intelligent Water Management for India's Cities

© J. Jackson
Coimbatore city view.

With 1.7 million inhabitants in an area of 257 square kilometers, Coimbatore is one of the over 50 typical industrial cities with more than a million inhabitants. It is estimated that the population of the South Indian city will grow by another million people over the next 30 years. Securing the water supply and wastewater disposal is one of the most urgent problems: In many places the supply of drinking water is limited to a few hours a day, and many districts are not yet connected to the water supply network. Similarly, many urban areas lack sewage systems and sewage treatment plants.

As one of India’s 100 Smart Cities, Coimbatore has the chance to realize exemplary solutions and set the course for a sustainable urban development.


A concept for the sustainable water management of an intelligently networked city is to be developed using the example of the southern Indian metropolis of Coimbatore, a traffic junction in the state of Tamil Nadu. The core of the new approach is to look at urban development challenges not only separately from traditional sectors. Instead, solutions for the water supply, energy supply and food safety are to be developed across the board and intelligently networked in order to reduce competition for resources. At the same time, the project can help German companies in the water sector to gain access to the huge Indian market for water and wastewater management.


The methodology for the analysis of the urban dynamics and strategy development is based on the “City Lab” approach developed in the Fraunhofer research network “Cities of the Future” which has already been successfully applied in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

  • Understand: Local expert interviews, analysis of water management status quo in Coimbatore
  • Involve: Discuss needs and potentials with local stakeholders and German water technology experts
  • Develop: Plan a strategy for integrated water management and incorporate feedback
  • Network: Develop the concept for a Water Innovation Hub for South India in Coimbatore

City analysis and stakeholder workshop identify two fields of action

The city analysis was based on interviews with local experts and the assessment of the local infrastructure. The needs identified were discussed and assessed on July 26, 2018 in a stakeholder workshop attended by nearly 30 participants from administration, private companies, universities, and civil society.

From this, the project team derived two urgent fields of action, which will be pursued further in the project:

  • Semi-centralized, integrated municipal water management:
    also considering the energy and food sectors
  • Establishment of water quality monitoring system:
    Technologies to monitor the quality of treated industrial effluents, surface waters and groundwater and to visualize the results

Water Innovation Hub

In the Water Innovation Hub, German and Indian companies work closely together with non-governmental organizations and city administrations to provide solutions for demand-oriented water management in India. Small and medium-sized German companies in particular can benefit from the network. The two identified fields of action provide first starting points for this long-term cooperation between Germany and India.

Get involved!

Join us in the development of the Water Innovation Hub! Below you will find the first project outlines for download. If you are interested, please contact us by e-mail or phone.

Water Innovation Hub and Project Outlines

Water Innnovation Hub

The Water Innovation Hub is the basis for a long-term Indo-German cooperation in the water sector.

Semi-Centralized Water Management

Integrating various technologies, combining benefits of large, centralized infrastructures and smaller systems.


Water Quality Data and Monitoring

Implementation of a smart monitoring and data management system for water quality and quantity.

Project information

Project title

Smart Water Future India



October 2017 – March 2019


Project partners

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB, Stuttgart (Coordination)
  • Drees & Sommer Advanced Building Technologies GmbH, Stuttgart
  • ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research Ltd., Frankfurt am Main
  • trAIDe GmbH, KölntrAIDe GmbH, Köln


We would like to thank the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) for funding the project "Smart Water Future India", promotional reference 16EXI2262A, in the "Export initiative for environmental technologies" program.