Air and Water Labs in India: Solutions and Advancements through Research for Water and Air (SARWA)

 Indian women carry water on their heads in pots from well.
Photo credit: CRS PHOTO,

Solutions and Advancements through Research for Water and Air (SARWA) is an innovative program by J-PAL South Asia and Community Jameel to increase access to clean air and water for millions of Indians through solutions that have been rigorously tested for effectiveness. 

Clean Air and Safe Water are Becoming Scarce

Polluted air and water are causing people across the world to live shorter, sicker and less productive lives. In India, the Air Quality Life Index 2023 finds that high levels of air pollution are shortening the average life expectancy by nearly five years. More than 600 million people in India are facing severe water shortages and 70 percent of the water is unfit for drinking, as per a NITI Aayog report in 2018.

Finding solutions to these problems are difficult, often because data and evidence on policies that work are limited. This further harms vulnerable communities.

SARWA: Driving Change at Scale

In response, J-PAL South Asia has launched the Solutions and Advancements through Research for Water and Air (SARWA) to accelerate the adoption of scientific evidence and data for designing impactful policies on air and water. 

SARWA is part of the Air and Water Labs — launched by J-PAL and Community Jameel — to improve clean air and water access around the world. J-PAL Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and J-PAL Africa have launched similar labs in collaboration with Community Jameel.

Under SARWA, J-PAL South Asia will be collaborating with governments — both at the national and state levels — to answer some of the most pressing and critical questions that will lead to robust air and water policies. 

The lab is an expansion of J-PAL’s King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI), building on the foundational support of King Philanthropies to vastly grow J-PAL’s work at the nexus of climate change and poverty alleviation worldwide. 

SARWA Associated Organization(s)

Community Jameel logo Gujarat Pollution Control Board logo Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board

Key Facts


Environment, Energy, and Climate Change

Scientific Advisors:

Michael Greenstone
Namrata Kala


J-PAL South Asia


RFP open



Sanjana Gorti (Lead, Air and Water Labs)
[email protected]

Aditi Namdeo (Director, Strategic Initiatives)
[email protected]


Request for Proposals

SARWA's Spring 2024 RFP for both research and scaling projects is currently open. Expressions of interest are due February 29, 2024, and full applications are due April 4, 2024. 

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