water management

Water fountain at Peacock Fountain


Water is fundamental to life. Yet, eleven per cent of the global population — 783 million people, remains without access to an improved source of drinking water and, at the current pace, 605 million people will still lack coverage in 2015. Over 40 per cent of all people without improved drinking water live in sub-Saharan Africa. UN Millennium Development Goals.

Water supply – provision of water by public utilities, commercial organisations, community endeavors or by individuals, usually via a system of pumps and pipes.

Water delivery

  • Fountains. Aqueducts
  • Water ATMs – Smart solar-powered “water ATMs” have become a growing source of clean water for rural villagers in India. Customers simply swipe a prepaid smart card at the ATM to collect their water. The ATMs do more than just dispense water. They use mobile technology to enable real-time monitoring with the ATMs’ sensors to track water quality, see what times people draw upon their water supply, and quickly fix any problems that come up.
  • LIFELINK – provides safe drinking water to small communities, market places, hospitals, orphanages and schools in rural areas around the world. Drilled into the groundwater, the device consists of a turnkey water solution (pump) for remote communities without access to water and electricity. The machine is operated using a simple mobile phone. Even in the poorest areas of the world, mobile phones are widespread.
  • TOHL (video 6:51) – Chile – Providing access to water in remote areas is expensive. Single segments of pipeline manufactured in lengths of 500 meters to several kilometers are loaded onto spools, which are then deployed by helicopter or truck. Costs reduced, livelihoods preserved, homes protected, and resources conserved. As one of the The Tech Awards 2013 Laureates this project has been recognized as providing an innovative solution to a problem with significant social impact.

Agriculture, Irrigation are significant consumers of all water available. Making these more efficient ensures that there is enough water for all.

  • Film Farming with Hydrogel – technology used in disposable diapers combined with a pioneering film for soil-less agriculture, uses 90% less water, 80% less fertilizer, boosts productivity by 50%, and produces nutritious and delicious crops. The film can be installed on any surface – wood, sand, or concrete, for sustainable commercial farming. Film farming produces nutritionally superior and safe food while reducing the use of harmful chemicals in the food supply chain.

Water is a special molecule that has a unique set of properties which set it apart from all others. Life on Earth is made possible because of its unique nature. These are based on the polarity of water.

Jaigarh Fort – Water tank

Water is the center of life
Water harvesting (video) – Anupam Mishra describes the amazing feats of engineering build centuries ago. In addition, he talks about some of the water ponds and the elaborate stairs and structures that celebrate the presence and quantity of water. For more than 800 years, in the Golden Desert of India, rain water is harvested using a system of roof-top catchment surfaces that drain into an enclosed water storage. Millions of gallons of water are captured every year even though there is very few inches of water.

  • Ask – There are only nine inches of rainfall per year but water must be available year round for people to live in the region. Ground water is 300 feet below ground and mostly saline. When it does rain, how much rain falls?
  • Imagine – New expensive concrete waterways to bring in water from the Himalayas to the Golden Desert have not been able to provided the water necessary to the towns and cities in the region. What are the nature resources that are available locally? How can these be used to collect and store water? Why are the concrete waterways not effective?
  • Design, Build – In addition to the water harvesting system, people have built elaborate structures to remind people that water is the center of life. It can be enjoyed for its beauty as well. They have even created beautiful structures, like the stairs described in the video to show exactly how much water is in storage. How can elegant design be both useful and beautiful? The process of water harvesting requires catchment and storage. Displays for enjoyment have also been built. What are the key elements of these catchments that keep the water from evaporating?
  • Improve – Not all systems for water harvesting are equally successful. Some have worked for centuries. Modern ones, not very well at all. What can be done to improve the effectiveness of the concrete waterways?

That’s engineering

  • groundwater – Water that collects or flows beneath the Earth’s surface.
  • turbidity – a measure of the cloudiness of water due to suspended particles, that are usually invisible to the naked eye. The more turbid the water, the harder it is to see through.

Engineering ideas

  • kund, harvest rain, catchment, slope, waterproofing, saline water, storage tanks, canal, zero-b water

Do it
Here are some challenges for you to work on…

  • Drench – Take on the fight for fresh water in this game of strategy and speed. Use technologies such as “plant pods” and “bug batteries” to capture fresh water to grow food and keep your rising population alive. Be sure to read about the amazing engineering behind each technology.
  • Demonstrate the system described in the video. Describe the difficulties and special features in making the system work.
  • Design a structure that can also show the water level in the storage area.
  • Hyrdro-gel planting (video 4:49) – enhance your garden and reduce the need to water

Learn more…