The Center for Water and Sanitation (CWAS) undertakes active research, implementation support and capacity building initiatives in the field of urban water and sanitation. Acting as a thought catalyst and facilitator, CWAS works closely with city and state governments to support them in delivering water and sanitation services in an efficient, effective and equitable manner. 

In 2015, the United Nations in New York adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda is laid out as 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ratified by all member countries, including India.  SDG 6  states “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.".  This includes the complete cessation of open defecation. CWAS strives to ensure that cities in India are able to meet SDG 6.

The Center was established in 2009 with a pioneering project of performance assessment of water and sanitation service delivery in Indian cities (PAS).  PAS has grown to cover 900 cities across 6 states, enabling informed policy decisions and actions for improvement. Recent work of CWAS includes supporting the Govt. of Maharashtra in implementing the Swachh Bharat Mission. This also entails support to city governments to attain and maintain ‘open defecation free’ status and move beyond toilets to address entire sanitation service chain including safe management of waste-water.

Key Initiatives:

  • Supporting cities to become open defecation free
  • Demonstrating sustainable and equitable sanitation solutions in small and medium cities
  • Exploring innovative financing for investments in urban sanitation
  • Building capacities of government officials and other stakeholders in sanitation planning and monitoring
  • Developing and implementing a Performance Assessment System for urban water and sanitation


Meera Mehta

Meera Mehta

Executive Director

Meera Mehta is a Professor Emeritus at CEPT University and the Executive Director of the Center for Water and Sanitation. She has over 45 years of experience in water, urban development and infrastructure finance. Her experience spans countries in Asia and Sub- Saharan Africa.

She served as the Director of School of Planning at the University in 1992, before joining the USAID’s FIRE-D Project in India, and later the World Bank and its Water and Sanitation Program in Africa. She has consulted widely for national and international agencies including UNICEF, World Bank, ADB, WaterAid, HIC, Government of Netherlands. She has written widely and published papers on housing, urban development, water and sanitation and financing. She is currently one of the Editors for the IWA’s WASH development journal.

In 2008, she spearheaded, jointly with Dinesh Mehta, the Performance Assessment System (PAS) Project at CEPT University, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She leads the projects with BMGF and other funders at the Center. She also contributes to courses at the Faculty of Planning, CEPT University.

She was on the board of the Stockholm-based inter-governmental organization Global Water Partnership (GWP). She is currently on the board of IRC, a global not-for-profit organization driving resilient WASH systems across the world through research and advocacy. She was a member of the working group for the WHO-UNICEF post-2015 deliberations for water supply and sanitation. She has also been member of various national and international Technical Committees related to water and sanitation. 

She has studied Architecture and Urban Planning, and has a Ph. D. in Economics.

Dinesh  Mehta

Dinesh Mehta

Executive Director

Dinesh Mehta is a Professor Emeritus at CEPT University and the Executive Director of the Center for Water and Sanitation. He has over four decades of experience in urban policy, urban planning and management, in Asia and Africa.

He was the Director of School of Planning at CEPT University in Ahmedabad from 1984 to 1992, and later the Director of the National Institute of Urban Affairs, New Delhi, India from 1992-1997. He also served as the global head of Urban Management Programme at UN- HABITAT in Nairobi from 2000 to 2006. In 2007, Dinesh returned back to CEPT to pursue research and teaching. He teaches courses in urban finance, infrastructure and development planning at the Faculty of Planning, CEPT University.

He leads the Performance Assessment System (PAS) Project and other projects with BMGF and other funders at the Center. He also contributes to courses at the Faculty of Planning, CEPT University. In 2013, Professor Mehta was awarded IWA (International Water Association)’s Development Solutions Award in recognition of his contribution to research and practice in Water. In 2017 became a fellow of IWA and Chair of their specialist group on water and sanitation in developing countries.

He has a Ph.D. from University of Pennsylvania, a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Technology in Civil Engineering, from IIT Madras, India.



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Center for Water and Sanitation

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Phone: +91 7265800060
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