IHUWASH: Innovation Hub for Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Solutions

Catalyzing Innovative Urban WASH Solutions

India has an urban population of 377 million and is expected to grow to 590 million by 2030. Increased urbanization has been pressurizing the country’s urban water and sanitation infrastructure and thus creating roadblocks in improving service levels. As per the latest NSSO report, only 56% of urban households have access to piped water in their house or plot and close to 33% of urban households still rely on public taps or tube / bore wells. When it comes to sanitation, India accounts for 600 million out of the 1 billion people worldwide who defecate in the open – including 12% of urban households. A majority of these underserved families live in slums and other low-income settlements in fragmented pockets across cities.

Critical issues that hinder service delivery are a lack of capacity, innovative and sustainable solutions, evidenced knowledge, and partnerships (within the government and non-government systems, and the private sector).The service delivery deficit impacts India’s growing number of urban poor. The rapid pace of urbanization growing at an annual growth rate of 2.1% further compounds this problem and sustainability of water and sanitation services are expected to be affected even more severely in future. Therefore, the urban WASH sector needs urgent attention.

Creating an Ecosystem for WASH Innovation

To expand and scale, conventional WASH infrastructure and services would need support from innovative technology and business solutions. Technologies, which can unlock the constraints of space, water resources and energy requirements; business solutions, which can overcome the issue of inadequate cost recovery from user charges and can bring improved quality and efficiency. However, innovations to sustain and fructify would require collaborative support from all stakeholders – government, private sector, academia, community, and innovators.

IHUWASH: Innovation Hub for Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Solutions

IHUWASH is a collaborative initiative of the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), TARU Leading Edge, IRC and Ennovent. It is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and aims to improve the performance of urban WASH programs within a collaborative framework. It works through incubation and acceleration of innovative, scalable, community and market-based solutions using technologies, programs and service delivery models.

Under IHUWASH, national and city-level innovation hubs will be established. These innovation hubs will work closely with the administration of Faridabad, Mysore and Udaipur cities. It will identify city-level WASH issues and address them by contextualising, testing and scaling effective, affordable and sustainable innovations, sourced at the national and international level.






IHUWASH Building Blocks



Project Impact

Sustainable Innovation Hubs will be established at the project sites to foster:

  • Prompt access to innovative, sustainable and scalable solutions for technology, behaviour change & communication (BCC), finance and management.
  • Promotion of WASH businesses, with the focus on sanitation.
  • Improved WASH and health outcomes.
  • An enabling environment for collaboration.
  • An ecosystem for developing innovative WASH solutions.

Overall, the initiative will contribute significantly to achieving the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda on water, sanitation and hygiene along with commitments of USAID and the Government of India in the WASH sector.




Supported by:

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) works to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. USAID is an independent government agency that provides economic, development, and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States. Leveraging India’s growing financial and human resources, USAID is harnessing the strengths and capabilities of both countries to tackle development challenges not only in India, but worldwide. In all sectors of its activities, USAID builds private sector partnerships to foster in-country sustainability and ownership, with a focus on issues such as health, urban water and sanitation, food security, early grade reading, and women’s empowerment as a cross-cutting issue.

 Lead Implementing Partner:

NIUA is a premier institute for research, capacity building and dissemination of knowledge of the urban sector in India and the lead implementing organisation of this initiative. It conducts research on urbanisation – urban policy and planning; municipal finance and governance; land economics; transit-oriented development; urban livelihoods; environment, climate change and smart cities.

 Consortium Implementing Partners:

Taru Leading Edge is a leading development advisory and think-tank that delivers innovative, transformative solutions and insights in the development space. Incorporated as a private limited company, TARU's mission is to `bridge the science-institutions-society interface with a core agenda of providing transformative solutions to development challenges'.

IRC is an international think-and-do-tank that works with governments, non-governmental agencies, entrepreneurs and people around the world to find long-term solutions to the global crisis in WASH services. At the heart of its mission is the aim to move from short-term interventions to sustainable WASH services.

Ennovent is a business innovations catalyst for sustainability. We believe sustainable solutions for low-income markets can create long-term business value. We partner with the private, public and third sectors to take novel business ideas to these markets in developing countries.

 Strategic Private Partners:

Yes Bank is a private sector bank in India.Over last 2 decades, it has steadily built a Corporate, Retail SME Banking franchise, Financial Markets, Investment Banking, Corporate Finance, Branch Banking, Business and Transaction Banking, and Wealth Management business lines across the country.

Valluri Technology Accelerators focuses on building solutions in the areas of Energy, Water, Environment & Pollution, Sanitation & Waste, Healthcare and Transportation & Mobility through convergence of multiple high-end domain technologies by partnering with leading global and national organizations.

 City Partners:

Faridabad is an important industrial hub, the most populated city in Haryana and part of the National Capital Region (NCR).It is being developed under the Smart Cities Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and UrbanTransformation (AMRUT).

Mysore is the second largest city in Karnataka and an important educational,commercial and administrative hub. Since the city is a tourist and heritage centre, it is covered under Swachh Bharat Mission and the AMRUT.

Udaipur is the City of Lakes‘ in the state of Rajasthan and is known for its picturesque surroundings and royal past.
Its rich architectural heritage and beautiful lakes fascinate tourists worldwide and encourage them to visit the historic city. It is being developed under the Smart Cities Mission,Swachh Bharat Mission and AMRUT.


This webpage is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this webpage are the sole responsibility of NIUA/its partners and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the Unites States Government.