IIITH Invites Solutions For Urban Water Woes

Ahead of World Water Day, through an open contest hosted by its Living Lab, IIITH seeks innovative solutions to one of the biggest challenges of urbanization; that of adequate water and sanitation. 

Recognizing that population growth is the fastest in urbanized cities without commensurate access to potable water and sanitation facilities, the state government in association with the National Institute of Urban Management (NIUM) and the Living Lab, housed in IIITH campus has announced a unique initiative to tackle the crisis. Through a ‘water challenge’, applications are being sought from startups engaged in creating innovative solutions for water management.

Water Themes
“The state government currently has some projects for water quality measurement and distribution that they’re looking to improve,” says Ramesh Loganathan, Professor of Practice and Co-Innovations, explaining the rationale behind the focus on water. He adds that the city of Hyderabad itself has a broad mandate for water management in the context of urbanization. “It could be measurement of water quality and quantity, water distribution efficiencies, analytics, wastage modelling and so on. We’re open to anything around water,” he says. Water logging of arterial roads during monsoons thanks to clogging of storm water drains, losses arising due to thefts or illegal connections of water, ways of recycling rainwater and treating waste water are some of the typical problems faced by cities. Apart from seeking solutions to deal with such transmission and distribution challenges, the contest is open to any other water issue that does not fall under the broad categories.

Prof Ramesh Loganathan

What They’re Looking For
In keeping with the institute’s underlying ethos of producing utilitarian technology or products, the challenge seeks to attract market-ready products. “The product itself must not be an experimental one or one that is just a prototype. The primary criteria is that it should be a commercial-grade, market-ready product with utility for it in the public distribution system because it is ultimately for cities. Even if there are no customers for it yet, it’s fine but market-readiness is a must,” says Prof. Loganathan. He goes on to add that the innovation need not necessarily be a completely new but one that improves the current processes.

Testing At Living Lab 
The Living Lab which is part of IIITH’s Smart City Research Centre is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the Smart City Mission and the Government of Telangana. According to Anuradha Vattem, Lead Architect of the lab, “Shortlisted entries will be tested out in the Living Lab first before the state government and NIUM select a final winner from amongst them.” The winner gets a chance to pilot their product in select cities of Telangana.

For more details and to register, visit: https://smartcitylivinglab.iiit.ac.in/challenge01.html

Sarita Chebbi is a minimalist runner, practising yogi and baker of all things whole-wheat, and sugar-free. Currently re-learning her ABC’s…the one that goes: A for algorithm, B for Bayesian, C for convolutional (neural network)….

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