Water is an essential resource and, in order to lead healthy lives, people need a reliable supply of clean drinking water. Water is also used in the industrial processes we depend on for food, energy and the production of many of the products we use daily. Water is vital for human development.

People need to consume between one to three litres of water a day to stay healthy. The amount required is dependant on the climate, their physiology and their levels of activity. Drinking water needs to be free from hazardous contaminants so effective water treatment is as important as access to water. Water infrastructure is used to collect and distribute water from where it originates, treat it to make it safe for human consumption, and, increasingly, to recycle water for other purposes before treating the wastewater and releasing it back into the natural environment. People living in rural locations in Tamil Nadu are reliant on water that comes mainly from groundwater sources. There are a variety of methods used to extract the groundwater including boreholes, wells and pumps. A huge amount of this groundwater, around 80%, is used in agriculture for irrigation purposes. This is placing enormous pressure on the groundwater source and there are serious concerns about the sustainability of continuing with the current practice of irrigation. Water quality is also another major issue for people living in the rural villages of Tamil Nadu, dirty drinking water has been reported to be the cause of many serious illness across the state. What ideas can you suggest to improve the situation?

For more information including details of the current situation and existing initiatives: go to Engineering For People Design Challenge: WATER
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  1. Water availability

    Water availability is a significant issue in Tamil Nadu. Groundwater sources are currently strained and being over exploited. What ideas can you come up with to improve water availability and reduce reliance on the groundwater source?

  2. Water management

    Villages in rural communities in Tamil Nadu tend to only receive water twice a day for two hours maximum each time. Can you suggest ideas that better collect, store and distribute water or reduce the demand?

  3. Water quality

    There are harmful bacteria in the water supply. Can you come up with ideas to improve the quality of the water supplied, or better protect the water distribution infrastructure?

  4. Water demand for agriculture

    The intensive use of water for irrigation in agriculture is placing an enormous strain on groundwater sources. What ideas can you come up with to reduce the amount of water required or alternative ways for farmers to irrigate their fields?

  5. Water and public health

    Can you suggest ways to improve the drainage channels in the village to prevent water from stagnating and becoming a danger to public health?