Winter School - 2017
Participatory Wastewater Assessment for Alappuzha Town
Centre for Policy Studies, IIT Bombay and SCMS College of Engineering &Technology
Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA)
The small and medium towns have huge infrastructure deficit with respect to wastewater management since they lack the technical, financial and institutional capacity for conventional sewerage management systems.
To address this challenge the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IITB) has developed a protocol for participatory decentralised data collection for water and wastewater/sanitation infrastructure, services and practices. In this protocol we proposed a replicable approach to a situational analysis of prevailing sanitation and wastewater practices by treating local municipal government as the locus of sanitation interventions and by engaging academic institutions to develop socio-spatial zones as unit of technological, social and governance interventions.
Alappuzha town, situated on the Western Coast of Kerala, has expressed interest and intent to engage in a similar exercise. Intertwined with cross-cutting canals, it lacks comprehensive sewerage network and relies on septic tanks – a primary mode of treatment and soakpits. The partially and untreated wastewater either leads to subsurface soil or drains into the canals. The flat topography and high-water table make it further difficult to establish conventional sewerage network system. The situation presents a challenge and an opportunity to explore heterodox options of sanitation and wastewater management.
Winter School (November 27th – December,4th 2017) supported by Kerala Institute of Local Administration was initiated and 19 students of Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural areas (CTARA), IIT Bombay and 16 students of Environmental Engineering of SCMSSET jointly engaged in an academic exercise. IIT Bombay is the knowledge partner to train students on drain mapping using GIS tools, wastewater mapping and a household survey. SCMS – Water Institute have provided lab support for water quality analysis.
The key objectives of the Winter School -2017 were to conduct a) drain mapping and wastewater quality assessment of major canals and sub canals; b) household survey to understand water, sanitation and wastewater management practices. The idea was to provide a platform to students to interact with and learn from the experts, practitioners and local people to go beyond classroom learning and understands the complexities of waste water and sanitation issue. It is intended to lead to a participatory sanitation plan inclusive of pollution mitigation for the Municipality. The three major tasks include (i) drain mapping; (ii) water pollution sampling and (iii) socio-economic survey at household level. The school focused on four major canals Vadai, Commercial, east and West Bank Canals and nine inlets.
Participatory Water and Sanitation Assessment for Alappuzha Town Preliminary Report and Way Forward