If you have questions about this program, email the program leader listed below.

International Perspectives in Water Sciences and Management- India

Program Details

The arrangements for the travel, housing, meals, excursions and course content of this program have been made by the leader. Questions about this program can only be answered by the program leader listed below.

Program Type Departmental
Program Location New Delhi, India
Course # SA 10505
Duration Winter Break
Upcoming Program Dates
Winter Flex 2023 12/18/23 to 01/05/24

Program Leader

Name Venkatesh Merwade
Email vmerwade@purdue.edu
Click here to enroll in this program!
Please Note: Programs may be altered or adapted with little notice

Program Description

We all know water is essential for life. Yet in Midwestern U.S., we often take freshwater for granted. Each day we use water for drinking, cleaning, and cooking. But we don’t think twice about where the water comes from, what it takes to get it to us, or whether it is safe to use or drink. In a very real sense, the immediate availability of clean water is a miracle of life in the modern world. But in many places in rural India, freshwater is a scarce resource. Homes do not have running water. Villages do not have a central water supply. The fortunate are able to retrieve water from a nearby source within walking distance. Still, fetching water is a time consuming daily chore. For those without a freshwater source nearby, water poverty means hardship. Hence, in many rural settings in India, the availability of freshwater defines one’s daily life and determines one’s economic well being.

This course is a case study on water poverty in rural India. You will learn firsthand about the freshwater crisis that exists in the Mewat and Alwar Districts, rural agricultural valleys in northern India that are under-developed economically even by India standards. Fresh groundwater is the primary water source for drinking and irrigation in the area. However, this resource is threatened by overuse, increased demand from a growing population, and climatic changes in monsoon rains. During the time in India, student participants will be engaged in projects that investigate practices aimed at enhancing water supplies. Through these activities, and the interactions with our local partner and the population in Mewat and Alwar, students learn how culture, economics, and the environment shape this region and determine the sustainability of water resources. To learn more about experiences offered by this course, view a video created by students participants in the 2019 course from the University of Iowa. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmiU80-Xbhk .

Partner Organization:  S.M. Sehgal Foundation www.smsfoundation.org 

Article about 2022/2023 Program:  https://engineering.purdue.edu/GEP/news/2023/2023-0316-India


This is a course for undergraduate students with an interest in water and real-world sustainability issues. Students come from different disciplines and bring different perspectives–from physical sciences and engineering, to sustainability studies and socio-economic sciences. Each student is expected to participate in group and individual projects activities (which are often tailored to an individual student’s interests and skills). Our projects involve field work designed to test hypotheses, and subsequent data analysis. At the end of the course, students will make a short presentation to share what was learned; will also receive feedback about the impact of our project activities from Sehgal Foundation personnel, and hear about its significance to their efforts to address the ongoing freshwater crisis.

Course work on projects is complemented with afternoon and weekend cultural activities.

Academic Credit

Earn 3 credits for CE 49700.  Students must check with their academic advisor to see how this course can be used in their plan of study.  Preference given to Civil Engineering students.

**Please note this program is open to non-engineering students from any major across campus.  


Students in any Purdue major at any level are welcome to apply.  Preference given to Civil Engineering students but all are encouraged to apply.  Must be in good academic standing. 

**Civil Engineering students will receive the $1,000 MOH Scholarship.  This is for Civil Engineering students only.


Program Cost

Students pursuing program participation accept financial responsibility. Purdue will take measures to mitigate financial risks, although will not be liable for loss.

Estimated program cost is $3,350 which includes:  Housing, most meals in country, all ground transportation in India, all activities and cultural excursions on the itinerary with entrance fees, three academic credits, and international health insurance. 

Addtional expenses:  Airfare, Passport, Visa (required even for US citizens), personal spending money, personal activities, and transportation to and from Chicago O'Hare airport for the group flight. 


Application Deadline

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the program is full.  12 spots available. 

Financial Aid

Purdue University financial aid may be applied to the costs of studying abroad. Students interested in receiving financial aid should

NOTE:  Recipients of certain tuition remission and scholarship programs should pay careful attention to the regulations for using those benefits for study abroad.  Ask your financial aid advisor about any limitations.

Click here for a list of scholarships and grants available to assist with the costs of studying overseas.