Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Design Opportunities in Water: DCC2008 Assignment

Design Opportunities in Water: Looking at the five Indian village types as part of this course
Image: Furaat Water Harvesting system designed by Dinesh Sharma an NID graduate in Product Design.

Yesterday we talked about water and the need for the design community to look closely at this resource that is becoming increasingly scarce as population increases and we tend to use more technology to extract this very limited resource in an unsustainable manner. The key word is sustainability and with imagination and design creativity we can and must find ways to reduce, recycle, recharge and reform the manner in which we think about and use this precious resource. Anita Roddick in her book “Troubled Water” tells us how critical water is to sustaining human life. She says, I quote, “Water is more fundamental than any other substance on Earth: You can live three weeks without food, but without water you’ll be dead in three days.” UnQuote

We also talked about the conversation that Hazel Henderson, futurist, evolutionary economist and author had with Daisaku Ikeda, president of Soka Gakkai International, a Buddhist association to promote peace in their book titled “Planetary Citizenship”. Here the attitudes that were needed to shape values, beliefs and actions for a sustainable world are discussed as an extended dialogue that covers insights form both authors from over 80 years of individual experiences. Their belief that the individual can shape a sustainable world is at the heart of this dialogue. Water is a repeated theme across the book and the need to conserve, share, and protect water as a critical human resource is repeatedly addressed across the many themes that are discussed by these visionaries.

We talked about the work done by Dinesh Sharma with the Furaat Earth Pvt. Ltd. In Ahmedabad over the past three years and used this as a starting point for our collective brainstorming about what the design community could do about this very critical resource, particularly for our village economy. The traditional wisdom of the manner ion which water has been used in the dry regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan have shown many sensitive and durable ways of conserving and using water for the benefit of society. These were also ecologically sensitive and have held the local populations in good stead for the past hundred and even thousands of years. The village pond is a critical method that has been used in all our villages to recharge the ground water as well as to hold surface water for use to feed cattle, for agricultutre as well as for washing and other tasks. The village wells are usually located near the aquifers that are fed by the ponds through a slow filtration process that works unseen below the surface of the pond.

We also spoke about two of our graduates in Baroda (Varodra), Mala and Pradeep Sinha, who have a textile design company which recycles and reprocesses all their water before it is let out into the environment in a high quality discharge. Pradeep had designed India’s first commercially available water filtration system using the Reverse Osmosis process. The e product was launched by the Baroda based company and soon thereafter Symphony took up the marketing of these products on a nation wide franchise agreement.

The task given to our student groups was to brainstorm and research the whole area and come up with design opportunities that can be taken up by seniors across all the disciplines at NID in the Industrial Design, Communication Design and Digital Design disciplines. The presentation is scheduled for the 12th March 2008.

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