Pay Drechsel has 20 years of working experience as environmental scientist in projects aiming at the safe recovery of resources from human waste, integrated natural resources management and sustainable agricultural production in developing countries. Over the last 10 years, Pay is coordinating several multi-disciplinary projects, mostly on urban and peri-urban agriculture, solid and liquid waste management and related environmental and health impact mitigation in the agriculture-sanitation interface.
After joining as Research Network Coordinator the International Board for Soil Research and Management (IBSRAM) in Bangkok, Pay set up and headed IBSRAM's Africa Office from 1997 till 2001. In this period, his research work focussed on soil degradation, resource economics, and applied participatory on-farm research. The latter strongly influenced his perception of impact-oriented and multi-disciplinary research. In 2001, Pay joined the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), first as Head of their West Africa Office, then as Global Theme Leader in charge of 'Agriculture, Water & Cities' with projects on the safe and productive use of wastewater in agriculture in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, and Ghana. In 2008, this division broadened its scope (Water Quality, Health and Environment) to address also other water quality related issues.
Pay supervised a large number of graduate and postgraduate students and is in the scientific and technical advisory committee of different FAO, WHO, DGIS, SIDA and EU funded projects on urban agriculture, the safe use of wastewater in agriculture, and appropriate/ecological sanitation.
Pay has more than 200 publications, with about half in peer-reviewed books and journals. He has worked extensively in West and East Africa, but also Asia and Russia. After longer stays in Thailand, Rwanda and Ghana, Pay moved in 2009 to IWMI HQ in Sri Lanka.