Decentralised Waste Water Treatment System

rachel project image


Lead PI/s

James Hutton Institute


Indian Institute of Science
Ashoka Trust for Research In Ecology and the Environment
University of Glasgow


Scottish Government under the Hydro Nation Initiative

Start and end date

February 2017 – March 2020

Summary of the project

This interdisciplinary project aimed to provide a better understanding and evidence base for the environmental and social benefits of decentralised, energy and water efficient on-site wastewater treatment for rural communities. The project developed this understanding and made an impact through the co-design of a decentralised wastewater treatment and recycling system for a village in Southern India.  The system design is modular and so can be adapted for other installations depending on local conditions such as climate variability, population density and land availability.

The objective of the system in India is to move toward a closed loop system, recover resources, improves access to sanitation, builds social capacity and safeguard the environment. Watch the video below to find out more. 


  • Scientists from Scotland and India share expertise in the system design and research activities
  • Educate to improve public and environmental health
  • Address gender inequalities
  • Youth training programme at the heart of the maintenance plan
  • Future investment plan to ensure project legacy

Environmental benefits

  • Improve groundwater quality
  • End open defecation
  • Reduce waste, water and energy

Contact name/email

Dr Rachel Helliwell -