Towards Brown Gold: Nanded, India

Nanded is a fast-growing city in the Nanded district, Maharashtra. The city pioneered a city-wide community-led total sanitation (CLTS) in 2011. But challenges still exist, and poor communities face barriers in accessing sanitation infrastructure.

Nanded has a rapidly growing population – a situation faced by many Indian cities. A more than 20 percent increase in the city’s population from 2001 to 2011 has put significant pressure on the sanitation system.

The CLTS programme was introduced to the city by the then Municipal Commissioner, Nipun Vinyak, who supported its mainstreaming into Nanded’s sanitation plan. Strong community groups were created to monitor the sanitation systems and support the processes that had been put in place. However, the CLTS programme stalled after Vinyak was transferred to a different city.

In 2021, Nanded was awarded ODF+ and ODF++ by Swachh Bharat Mission, indicating that faecal sludge and sewage in the city is safely managed and is not discharged into water bodies. However, discussions we have held with the community show that people still face significant sanitation challenges. This is particularly so with pipe blockages, which, in some cases, have become so bad that people are reverting to open defection.

Towards Brown Gold research also shows that sewers and the overall system are still cleaned and emptied manually by sanitation workers, who are mainly from ‘lower’ castes. Caste and occupation result in intense discrimination, expose people to significant health risks, block upward mobility, and access to reliable and effective sanitation.

With our interdisciplinary team, we are working with the local community, government officials and local organisations. We are analysing how power relations and marginality affect access to sanitation and waste management, how inequalities contribute to further marginalisation and the need for decentralised systems to address sanitation problems in marginalised localities.

Research partner

We are working with the Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM) in Nanded.



Stay up to date with Towards Brown Gold

Visit our Medium site for updates on the project

Follow us on Twitter

Project details

start date
1 April 2020
end date
1 September 2023


About this project