UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


Niranjana Ramesh

Sustainable politics of urban water governance

Primary supervisor: Dr Pushpa Arabindoo (Department of Geography) 

Secondary supervisor: Dr Sarah Bell (Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering)

When seawater desalination plants were opened in two cities on either sides of the global north-south divide - London, UK and Chennai, India – to feed into networked urban water supply, they sparked debates on the sustainability of urban water, albeit in very different ways. An apparent global consensus on normative ideals of sustainability was challenged by local political resistance or support for desalination. My research uses a comparative lens to look at the institutional processes of urban governance and politics through which a discourse of technology and sustainability emerged in these two cities.


2012-13: MSc Urban Studies, UCL

Dissertation - ‘A Tank Half Full: Water in the Socio-Ecological Imagination of Chennai’

2008-12: Worked as a journalist, writing on urban politics and culture in Chennai and Bangalore, India

Sample articles

- ‘Whose neighbourhood is it anyway?’, The Hindu, 4 July 2012

- ‘Chennai tries to fix its water woes’, Livemint, 16 Sept 2010

2007-08: Post-graduate Diploma in Journalism, Asian College of Journalism, Chennai

2002-07: Bachelor of Technology, National Institute of Technology, Calicut