Equitable Water and Sanitation: the Challenge for Design Public

As India’s population grows and expands, clean water supply will become inadequate: demand is expected to rise by over 40 percent in the coming two decades. Large parts of the country already suffer acute shortages in clean drinking water as well as water for domestic use, not to mention water for industrial and agricultural use. This is due, in large part, to the mismanagement of water and the lack of proper recycling technologies. While there are efforts being made better manage our water resources, these are widely distributed and often in misalignment with each other. This challenge track will focus on enabling better coordination between these, especially to bring clean drinking and domestic water to the urban and rural poor who suffer most from their lack. This involves tackling the problem through more evolved recycling technologies, better water delivery processes, as well as focused legislation and policy changes.

This track will also focus on the large issue of sanitation in India, and the large problem therein. As of 2009, 74 percent of rural India still did not have or use toilets. This has implications first on health, hygiene and well-being, and then on issues of safety, convenience and privacy. The Indian government introduced the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) in 1999, with the aim to eradicate open defecation practices by 2017. As a part of this program, the government offers subsidies to villagers interested in building private toilets. Additionally, the TSC focuses on women and children and now has mandated that all members of local government build and use toilets in order to bring about behavioral change in the villagers. However, there is a great challenge with the translation of these policy measures into actual implementation and wide adoption of the program. The aim of this session is to brainstorm possible solutions to this gap in implementation and to discover new ways in which a collaborative innovation and design approach can contribute to the effort.

Discussants will seek to answer questions such as:
. What are Unsolved Challenges of Equitable Water and Sanitation?
. How can Design and Innovation help solve those Challenges?
. What kinds of Engagement Models should or could be Employed?
. What kinds of Collaborations and Partnerships are Necessary?
. What will the Assembled Group do after this meeting is over?

The discussion will be led by several experts in this field, including Deepak Menon, who leads communication and outreach efforts of the India Water Portal at Arghyam. He will be joined by Amy Lin and Chandrima Das of the Monitor Inclusive Markets, who work on developing social enterprise models that provide clean drinking water in low-income, urban communities. Urvashi Prasad of the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation manages initiatives to develop sustainable models for delivery of basic services (clean drinking water and sanitation) to the urban poor in India. Ekta Ohri, Senior Director of Innovation at CKS, with wide experience in user-centered innovation processes, will help anchor and moderate the discussion.

About Ayesha Vemuri

Ayesha Vemuri is responsible for thought leadership and outreach efforts at CKS. She has undergraduate degree in Visual Art from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where she also studied such varied subjects as biology, literature and the humanities. At CKS, she is responsible for curating the Design Public blog, managing our various social media platforms, organizing Pecha Kucha Nights and contributing to the intellectual content of the Design Public Conclave and other CKS initiatives. Find her on twitter at @ayeshavemuri.
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