DELTAP: an integrative approach for smart small-scale piped water supply in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta

This project aims to reduce arsenic contaminant exposure of drinking water for households by combining in-house Small-scale Piped Water Supply and active end-user participation through mobile crowd participation (MCP) in ‘Do it yourself laboratories’ in India and Bangladesh.

Project presentation UDW-II Kick-off meeting at 9 May 2016


Project leader: Dr ir. D. (Doris) van Halem (Delft University of Technology)

Consortium partners: Prof. dr. B.A. Hoque (School of Civil and Industrial Engineering Uttara University), Dr. K.M. Ahmed (University of Dhaka) Dr. K. Baby (IRC Wash) Mr D. Chandra (Practical Action Bangladesh), Dhr. M.E. Donselaar (Technische Universiteit Delft) Prof. dr. A. Gosh (Anugrah Narayan College, Magadh University), Dr. E. Karana (Technische Universiteit Delft), Ir. J. Nederstigt (PRACTICA Foundation), Ir.W. Savenije (Studio Bereikbaar), Dr. ir. J. Verberk (Evides Waterbedrijf)

Consortium partners (institutions): School of Civil and Industrial Engineering Uttara University, University of Dhaka, IRC Wash, Practical Action Bangladesh, Delft University of Technology, Anugrah Narayan College, Magadh University, PRACTICA Foundation, Studio Bereikbaar, Evides Waterbedrijf


Arsenic-contaminated groundwater causes serious health risks affecting millions of people living in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta. Mitigation attempts for this unresolved problem have taught critical success factors to be: true local embedding (social, technical and economical), adaptability and dynamics. DELTAP's integrative approach (Figure 1) aims for sustainable innovation to reduce contaminant exposure with Small-scale Piped Water Supply (SPWS) and active end-user participation through mobile crowd participation (MCP) and Do It Yourself (DIY) Laboratory. SPWS combines the attractiveness of socially/economically feasible tap connections with smart targeting of safest sources, centralized treatment and end-user inclusion.
The character of SPWS matches the dynamic urbanizing regional context. However, it also requires fundamental understanding of interacting social and technical conditions, guaranteeing rootedness in site-specific contexts. In urban laboratories in Bangladesh and India, DELTAP integrates MCP with:
- Dynamic geological models for prediction of arsenic patches in deltaic systems,
- Blueprints for source-to mouth safe water supply, and,
- Human-centered design framework for development of tangible DIY materials and processes.
Project output consists of marketable products (e.g., visualization apps, smart taps) with business models for local SMEs, supported by larger SPWS public-private partnership programmes of water NGOs. Stakeholder co-production has a dominant role in the research methodology, at all levels: End-users produce MCP data through interactive apps; SMEs co-develop apps and DIY products; NGOs build SPWS for pilot research; joint science/NGO policy briefings. This co-production results in strong embedding of results, optimizing feasibility of highly needed impact for sustainable and inclusive development: creating pathways for safe drinking water for millions.


Scientific article

  • A.K. Ghosh, M.E. Donselaar(2017): On the relation between fluvio-deltaic flood basin geomorphology and the wide-spread occurrence of arsenic pollution in shallow aquifers Science of the Total Environment pp. 901 - 913

Publications for the general public

  • D.E. Donselaar(2017): DELTAP news clippings Indian media April 2017


Project number

W 07.69.205

Main applicant

Dr. ir. D. van Halem

Affiliated with

Technische Universiteit Delft, Faculteit Civiele Techniek en Geowetenschappen, Afdeling Watermanagement

Team members

M. Annaduzzaman MSc, Dr. ir. D. van Halem, S. Kumar MSc, P. Majumdar MSc, Ir. A. Mink