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Edition #35
February 2024

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From the WOW Desk ...

Sewage Science is at the Very Foundation...

How do we understand water, its behaviour, its intricate nature and what we can do to treat, manage and use this precious liquid?

Estimates put urban waste water at 36 billion litres a day. That’s about 7% of all water India secures annually from the monsoons. At 100% this will be about 14x or 500 billion litres a day. Industrial waste water accounts for about 50-55 billion litres. Agriculture uses up the rest, at over 400 billion litres a day. Are those figures too large to understand? And if you multiply each figure by 365 days you will know what the total water need of India is…

How do we target such urban waste water in a way that Used Water is put back to good use? Anyone buying or selling such waste water treatment systems knows that a mere 1 lac litres a day of discharge involves a spend of Rs 25-45 lac depending on the system employed, gullibility of the buyer, and lack of knowledge on engineering applications of such a Solution Provider. How do we stop talking money, and focus first on securing right directions for sewage and sanitation, Dr Raval has been saying forever. Many of you at WOW who have heard him will know this.

Here is a fascinating conversation between two doyens who have over fifty years put purpose before self. One — Surat-based Dr Upendra Muni Raval — comes from the domain of water science. The other — Hyderabad-based Shri Santana Gopal — has kept a vigilant eye all through these decades — even in the long years when it was unfashionable and dismissed— on anything that could be efficient and reduce abuse of the environment. 

“Answers will come from our understanding water from ONLY the context of reducing its abuse,” says Ravalji. 

These are extracts from a chat the two are having on mails. Idea of sharing here at Water Voices is to ensure it is available to the far larger audience that this newsletter accesses. Anyone who wants to join the three of us – for I am also part of a Mission to document much of his learning and insights--, you are welcome to connect with us. Write to me at Hariharan@AltTech.Foundation.

The Conversation

Ravalji: While coming to science, I do not know if the effort WOW is making to identify agencies for Waste Water Treatment [WWT] and get some tips from me and other attendees to facilitate understanding what these Solution Providers are offering, and what is deficient about those.

All I would submit with emphasis is that, unless the basics are clear, this effort will be defeating. There are multiple vendors coming up with algal growth as a solution simply because oxygen (O2- dioxygen) is FREE to increase Dissolved Oxygen [DO]. And it is this commercial addiction that has taken entire WWT on a wrong path. The sooner we realize this the better… for all in the country, and indeed the world.

Let it be clear, that if we are not loyal to basics, any hardware upgradation and additional pumping of financial resources shall yield no benefits.It is the sewage science that is at the very foundation of clean water, rejuvenation of ponds, rivers, ocean, public health, climate stability and sound economy.

For publishing some kind of monograph or tract that documents the key concerns, directions, the why’s and what’s of the effort, we must have such exchanges as this one. We can involve other water professionals – some of who have been WOW speakers like Arun or Malcolm. Such dialogues with many other speakers in the WOW group or outside of it, would provide enough material for a short publication. Julia Barbeau and such others from Global Water Works can also be drawn into this conversation. I am conscious of the fact that most of them are not from my domain and are not inclined to connect with me, going deeper into the subject, although they resonate well with my views.


Santana Gopal: I am not technically conversant. Rawalji pours his heart and anguish and Hariharanji on-boards bright minds with genuine intentions. Yes, the fundamental civilizational challenge and issue is the science and technology of sewerage management. If we get it right all else will fall in place on WOW water ambition.

Yet, at WOW we have different knowledge, disciplines and learning levels. For instance, I present solutions as I genuinely find value at this particular time. These have emerged in the course of a journey, many pursuits, pains and failures. I would suggest the following:

  1. Pursue relentlessly. Someone, at some time, will pick up when it resonates as relay-running (example, Dr Malcolm Fabiyi’s vision and dream to actualize in science and in practice).

  2. Constructive ethos must guide activists and developers on incremental improvements. They must pose propositions to smarten and promote sewerage architecture with deep/real science and of “Nature” with execution/implementation scope as one step and way ahead.

Muni Raval: On another subject of importance to water, Colon microbes are not equipped to handle urine nor have they ever come in contact with urine. A single economic decision guided by ease of handling, "Bringing them together" is the most unfamiliar event on this planet. Even Nature has no clue! Advance oxidation is about how efficiently a microbe utilizes a hydroxyl radical (-OH) to suit its energy and polymer (organic intermediates) demand. 

We need to create a space for discussing the science of sewage degradation. It will add a new dimension. Market promotion is ok, but it needs a direction from science and some ruthlessness to correct wrongs done over centuries -- particularly with sewage management. It is time we put science before business. People often talk about "a horse before a cart" or the other way without understanding it was wheels that came first. 

May be following sewage organics to stabilize health and economy may play the same role that wheels played to advance civilization. Wheels before horse and cart … Or … 'Sewage science' before ease and market opportunities guided by economy, is not the way to go…

Santana Gopal: This is a good idea, as what could come out will be ideas and directions of enquiry applicable to multiple matters related with water. For tangible outcomes, it must be well-conceived and planned as cascading exchange and learning over a couple of sessions. This conversation must be creatively adapted for a well-planned step-by-step understanding with a series of documented segments. Hariharanji can modulate and moderate to deliver takeaways to our understanding and action. I could assist in the homework to deliver this task while my understanding of the subject matter is infantile curiosity more than anything else!

To every reader of Water Voices…

To all speakers, participants, mentors, enablers.. No matter how little you think you have managed to achieve. it is important to recognize and celebrate all the changes you have made happen. 

All you have to do is to look at the rich archive of video extracts and you will see the effort that Tej in the last year, and others in the previous years have made, to extract the right content, offer them the right headlines and host them -- unfailingly, every week. The minor miracle is that we have all accomplished this with nearly nothing as financial support from anyone.  

Share with us Your Honest Take? 

Will you help us have an honest look at what we should set as goals? What we should try to do better this year? How can you help us go about this?

Can you write in, share your thoughts on these 4 simple steps: 


1. Can you list out goals you think WOW should drive this year?

2. What are those that no longer reflect the direction that WOW should take?

3. What are those goals you think we were unable to complete last year but still should seek to achieve?

4. Can you order those goals by importance and the impact it will have?

Upcoming Events

Make World of Water Your Cause!

Water Voices February 2024 is here. This is your monthly source of news and updates on all things at AltTech.. Send us your thoughts? We need to learn from you in a way that resonates with the good sense and sensibility of all  readers – concerned citizens, dedicated volunteers, generous donors, and potential supporters.

Your Calendar of WOW AF meetings in February 2024

18th January- WOW #152 Global
When Volunteers Inspires Action : Sustainability Leaders Offer Lessons for India

By: Becky Sawie and Julia Baribeau

Water Voices keeps you informed and engaged on the lively conversations at WOW Action Forum, and the inspiring effort at RainReach in schools for the underrepresented. This edition brings you compelling stories, excellent initiatives, and the impact of your contributions. Together, we can make a meaningful difference and address the water-related challenges that lie ahead.

Rich Insights From Water Leaders

Watch Now: Key Highlights from January WOW Meetings

Follow us on :

  • YouTube


WOW #150 Global.jpg

1. Challenges to Microbial Remediation Viability | Malcolm Fabiyi

2.  Fundamentals of Biological Treatment | Malcolm Fabiyi

3.  Rethinking Wastewater Treatment | Malcolm Fabiyi

4. Unlocking Biorefining Six Challenges | Malcolm Fabiyi

5. The world over, waste water treatment is booming. | Upendra Raval

WOW Chennai #29 #151.jpg

1. Bio Remediation for Cleanup of Lake | Arun Kumar Sridharan

2.  Diatom Growth Supplements Assists Process | Arun Kumar Sridharan

3.   Nature's has inbuild Mechanism to Maintain Clean Water | Arun Kumar Sridharan

4.   Water Treatment Case Study | Arun Kumar Sridharan

5. Best Practices for Crop Cultivation | Arun Kumar Sridharan

WOW Highlights

RainReach : Inspiring Children and Teachers into Water Action

What is RainReach? 

Rain Reach is a program of eco-education for school-going children.

​Our Mission is Education of children through RainReach to ensure water conservation becomes a habit and solves the water problem by the next generation.  We have here in this edition - and every month — lots of picture stories to present the story that’s unfolding every month. 

Our mission is also to take Education on water for children, for adults, for technical people, in water and in technologies for treating water or harnessing water…


How can children learn how to save sensibly, how to recycle, harvest and manage the water cycle. How can we build a generation of water-wise young Indians? How can our schools and children inspire other neighbouring buildings, homes and offices. RainReach guides with constant contact and help for the children. 

We take to schools simple measures that help them understand how we need to treasure this precious liquid. As children move into their lives as adults, water will need to be entirely differently addressed.

It encourages learning-by-doing for kids of age 12-16 years with support from teachers and water industry volunteers or Water Mentors. 

We aim to reach 50 schools in Bangalore. That is a start. But that is a large and formidable initiative and will depend on how we all work together – water mentors, faculty, and children.


Check this fascinating set of pictures and caption stories... You will then want to view the videos -- helpfully subtitled -- of what teachers and students say of RainReach and our interventions... Inspiring a new way...

Jan 17 - A soft session at Prakasha Nagara Gov. High School

Mrs. Jayamma, HM of Prakasha Nagar, along with the Science teacher, Mrs. Manjulamma, introduced students to the soft session on rainwater harvesting. She provided a brief overview of AltTech Foundation, and delivered an inspiring set of ideas to the children.
Mrs. Manjulamma, the science teacher, explaining to students about rainwater harvesting.
Students of Classes 8 and 9 listen to the teacher explain the importance of water conservation and rainwater harvesting.
A student from Class 9 engages with the teacher. Questions about rainwater harvesting have been coming from many students. Their interest, we hope, will lead to action in their homes while they understand the RainReach solutions we have put into place.
Student Dikshit of Class 9 at this BBMP school in Prakash Nagar created a model of Rainwater Harvesting. The Science Teacher Smt Manjulamma explains with aid of the model to the students. The model is a simple demonstration of how rainwater is harvested. RainReach is planning to launch an Ideas Competition to invite students from all RainReach schools with Cash Awards for the top 3 best Ideas to be adjudged by a Jury of Water Leaders from AltTech Foundation.
Teacher-students engage in interaction on related topics after every such session.
Dikshit, the Class 9 student, explaining his model.

Jan 27 - Soft session at Chikkabanavara  Govt. High School

A soft session was conducted at Chikkabanavara High School, hosted by Mr. Neel Mathew, a Water Champion who in his house has not used a single litre of water from the outside. All 100% of his water need at home has come from RWH. During the session, the Physical Education teacher, Mrs. Bhagya, Social Teacher Ms Kumari and Dr. Ane also presented.
Mr. Neel Mathew presented on Rainwater Harvesting for the students, providing a demonstration on the board with graphic illustrations to enable them to understand better.
A full house of students listening enrapt – with a majority of them being girls – presents an inspiring picture of the impact that these RainReach sessions are making in BBMP Schools.
Mr Neil Mathews strikes an expressive gesture as he guides students on how they can be involved in water conservation and become responsible citizens in society.
This photo showcases how students aspire to be good citizens by contributing to society through water conservation. This show of hands from students is 100%. They all expressed their interest in joining any effort to conserve and harvest water.
The guest speaker and the students actively participate, attentively listening, engaging.
Finally, the students took an oath on Rainwater Harvesting and water conservation.

Jan 22 – Praveen Visit at Kempapura School

Mr. Praveen, an individual with several years of experience in Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) and water-related work, seen here inspecting pipes and tanks at Kempapura School

It’s great to have Cohort Africa!

Foundation Green launched a new Cohort in Africa to much enthusiasm and zest for learning

It is appropriate that I write this even as the COP 28 is on in Dubai. Mainland Africa is full of hope and young aspirants as the continent’s 54 nations gears up to meet the challenge of water, energy and climate change over the next decade.

From Africa’s current population of 1.4 billion – about the same as India’s – it is bracing up to another one billion people being added in the next 25 years to 2050. Africa needs management of energy resources and water critically if it has to ‘survive’ this generation and next. 


How can Africa’s new generation of trained professionals make the effort to enlarge the green footprint across the continent? When Dubai-based Caroline ‘Care’ Fernandes of The Krusallis heard of what Foundation Green offers as hands-on learning, she expressed interest in driving and shaping a Cohort Africa, for she saw the potential the series of Online Courses hold for mainland Africa. Little did I realise the speed at which she could influence Nigeria-based Ibiso Ikiroma-Owiye and others at The Krusallis to galvanise young African students and working professionals to join Cohort Africa, in less than month!

Ibiso is a Radio Presenter, heads as Executive Director ‘Grassroots to Global Sustainable Development Network’, a youth-led organization in Niger Delta, Nigeria, providing solar lamps for students in marginalized coastal communities in her region. Ibiso is also a marine researcher and mangrove conservationist, and has galvanised young Nigerians to plant over 10,000 mangrove seedlings in the deforested coastal communities of Rivers State with the Save Nigeria Mangroves Foundation and Centre for Environment Human Right Development since 2020.

Caroline herself brings a multitude of talents. She is a self-styled ‘Learning Architect’, an ‘Ecosystems Gardener’, a ‘Quantum Coach’ among many other things. She is also the brand ambassador for several diversity & inclusion initiatives including being the founder of a 5-year-old inclusive community #VibhaforInclusion that offers 2500+ people globally, a safe space for human beings to connect, learn and grow through the ecosystem. 

Caroline and Ibiso quickly got into the act, to invite young professionals across mainland Africa and other parts of the world, and excited them to see the powerful narrative they could build with many vibrant youngsters across the vast continent, who are full of aspirations, who are trained to be a variety of things from financial inclusion managers running microfinance, to those who have studied Ecology or History or International Studies, among many other things.

As the idea of creating this first of many cohorts evolved rapidly over recent weeks, Caroline reached out to Ibiso. They both agreed to work on it. And so was born this programme that now spans Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ghana, India and Dubai. There will be many more young Africans from a host of other countries who will join the programme as we ring in 2024.

It took Ibiso and the team, with Cephas Amoaior and other passionate members a couple of weeks to cobble together this team of excellent young Africans for this first Cohort. In the meetings and chats we have had on the Cohort, I see they are full of hope, and eager to learn. As Caroline said, “This is not conceptual. Concepts can be got from the web world.”

As many as 45 people have signed up for this programme – students and working professionals. You can see that it takes time and effort to stitch a programme like this, with an eye to advancing solutions of this kind and scaling impact in each of these countries with these members of Cohort Africa. Says Caroline, “If we can take these solutions into our homes, offices, and into policy at city and state levels, it will inspire Africa, for it touches our lives, and the learning helps us address things that impact us every day – like water or energy. We understand solutions, and we bring our own inventive thinking to problem-solving.”

Beyond these sessions, the modules of Foundation Green will offer a deeper dive into approaches, solutions. And those are available at Foundation Green.

One of the students who is part of the Cohort [and their many responses are listed in the section that follows this one], said “Until I got to participate myself in the Water MDP I did not realise the full importance of the hands-on, practical, learn-by-doing approaches that Foundation Green offers. There is no ‘boring’ stuff on the bad news around us, or the complex language that the UN or COP employs without actually telling us what we should do on ground, in our homes and workplaces!”

Well, yes, it is about leveraging sustainability and driving long-term growth for a company, or a community, in the post-pandemic world. But it is more than that. This Cohort Africa, one hopes, is the first of a series of 3-week programmes and a collaborative mission with Dubai-based Krusallis. It is evolving even as we speak. I see that it brings creative, innovative and sustainable solutions that offer enormous business potential for anyone wanting to work as a water entrepreneur or water manager.

Foundation Green is a coming together of framework designers, course visionaries, facilitators, content designers and community leaders. What I like most about it, is that the user-friendly online modules, intense interactions, and live assignments, all combine to give every participant the chance to solve real-life situations around the crippling challenge of water.

The entire cohort of nearly 50 young professionals [see the thumb sketch that follows, of each of the participants and the inspiring aspirations they articulate!

As they listen to the facilitators who share their experience of decades of work on water and watershed management, each of these participants is beginning to see that water is not about water at all, but that is about water management. It is startling to realise that the water crisis is exactly the same everywhere—from coastal Freetown in Sierra Leone, to Lagos in Nigeria on the Gulf of Guinea, to Harare at 5000 feet above sea level or Kadoma [3000 ft] in Zimbabwe or Nairobi [6000 feet] in Kenya or Mombasa [at sea level] to the Southeastern tip of Kenya. You and I know, dear reader, it is much the same across India and her hundreds of cities.

Foundation Green is about developing a nuanced understanding of the three dimensions of sustainability: society, environment and economy. It is about building a vocabulary, and a vision that explains how to create a ‘business culture’ of sustainability. 

Come. Join us. Discover how to demonstrate the value of impactful investments of time, passion and of the invaluable gains you can bring to your community, to your housing neighbourhood, to the commercial building or IT park you work in, or a hotel you can help save water and money! 

Foundation Green helps you plot and implement with a step-by-step approach a sustainable business model, with every solution backed up by Strategies that help students and working professionals of planning, finance, ecology, environment action with these online programmes that are ideal for those seeking a future-conscious approach to doing good and doing well for themselves.

The programme will help every participant gain strategies that will help achieve business goals while it deepens our commitment to sustainability. Anyone aspiring to be a Sustainability or Green manager, will learn to relate to the stories of such green initiatives. Now with Foundation Green, I realise what I myself really wanted is such practical solutions. Looking forward to more of the fantastic sessions of learning that Foundation Green offers.

Foundation Green.

Founatin Gren


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Alt. Tech Foundation is a not-for-profit, for-industry Foundation for

(i) Hosting city-wide campaigns for citizen collective action to save water & energy, 
(ii) Producing green managers and leaders

(iii) Arming and equipping schoolchildren with water practices of the future.

WOW Action Forum is a globally pioneering effort for bringing collective private action to save very large quantities of water at apartments, at Industry, at tech parks, or hotels and hospitals or malls and other such buildings. The 2021 mission is set to save 1000 Cr lites with community-led action. This alone will bring a saving of 236 Cr in electricity bills for the city, and a reduction in carbon emission of nearly 300,000 tonnes equivalent. 

WOW is a vibrant community of concerned citizens, volunteers, and supporters who share a common goal – to safeguard our precious water resources for future generations. By becoming a WOW member, you can actively participate in our initiatives, engage in meaningful discussions, and contribute to practical solutions for water-related challenges.


Don't miss this opportunity to be part of a movement that can truly change the world!

Visit our website today and sign up for WOW membership :

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