College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota
College of Science and Engineering

Our Own TED Talk

Our day started with tea, as usual. 


I came to India to be challenged, and the program has not let me down. Today was especially challenging. In addition to visiting many slums in the afternoon, we discussed challenges surrounding access to water in our morning lectures. It's challenging to pinpoint reliable and accurate data sources when measuring all people in India or the world, including people living in informal settlements. It's challenging to balance immediate with long term needs, economic viability with environmental impact and top down vs. bottom up approaches. As we learned from a lecture from an NGO called FORCE, community specific, methodical interventions can be very successful but the bottom up approach isn't always scalable to a whole population. In a lecture from a representative from the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, we learned that the top down approach has the benefits of being cost effective per person, providing equal resources to all and maintaining a regulated water quality, but the drawbacks of being slow to implement and difficult to adapt to all users.  Another challenge is balancing the potential for private organizations to help improve a water system with the ethical dilemma of handing over a human right to a profiting company.

The highlight of my morning was a talk about rainwater harvesting from Anupam Mishra. He eloquently described the beautifully simplistic ways people have been surviving in the desert in India for thousands of years by collecting rainwater during the 30 rainy days each year. He was a pleasure, and I'm excited that I got to meet a great TED talks veteran. Here's a link. Check him out.


Here's our group with him.



Thanks for reading and Namaste,



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