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Create mobile, web apps to address water problems

BANGALORE, INDIA: In an effort to find a hi-tech solution to the water and sanitation challenges faced by developing countries, the World Bank sponsored a three-day Global WaterHackathon in Bangalore.


The program, hosted by the Water Anchor and Water and Sanitation Program of the World Bank, will see over 800+ water and technology experts from across the world teaming up to create technology solutions to local and global water challenges.


Programmers, designers, engineers, techies and data specialists will work with developers and experts to brainstorm, code, mash up data and win prizes for apps that can make water safer, more accessible, and more sustainable for all.


Addressing the developer community on the occasion of the Hackathon contest, Sam Pitroda, Adviser to Prime Minister, public information infrastructure and innovation said, "Water is the most precious commodity and we all need to join together to create awareness for using water."


"All these can be executed by effective usage of IT and IT-based technologies which are available in the market," said Pitroda presenting his special address during the WaterHackathon.


Pitroda mooted an idea of developing a national innovation council for water, where water experts and IT professionals team up, put their plans to work and associate with the government to address the needs of water and sanitation problems in the country.


He further added that, the problem is too complex and we need to work with the domain experts and this can be executed with the use of IT and modern management techniques to address the rising concerns in water and sanitation.


Highlighting the programmes undertaken by the government in the space of information technology, Pitroda said, "we have created a platform for UID headed by Nandan Nilekani, GIS led by Kasturirangan, and also focusing on cyber security apps, data center and portals using open source platforms.


He said: "It's an opportunity to the developers in India to make use of the open source platforms to develop innovative applications using the available infrastructure."


Pitroda felt that: "mobile connectivity will enable us to connect to the edge, thus enabling us to spread our message in local language in local ways. Water will be always on the national agenda. Keeping this in mind, we need to start making use of IT, especially the developers," said Pitroda.


"More Indians today have access to a mobile phone than a toilet. The number of mobile subscription in India is exceeding 900 million and almost every one is connected to mobile thanks to IT and lower cost solutions," said Pitroda.

To make best use of the growing arena in the mobile sector, he urged developers to create mobile and web applications to address the growing global water problems.


"India has got a great talent and it is high time we pool in all resources together, which includes participation from public/private sector to create movement on water," added Pitroda.


The Bangalore event is being hosted in collaboration with the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) and India Water Portal (IWP).

Source:, October 24, 2011 

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