The concept of ACWUSTM was developed by Shruti Syal and Salomi Nautiyal for the San-Kranti Challenge 2011, a national student competition encouraging the development of innovative solutions to urban issues faced by Indian cities. Having won the third position from among 171 proposals sent in by students and young professionals in November 2011, ACWUSTM is now poised for implementation over the next couple of months, with a $6500 grant administered by the Indian Institute of Human Settlements.
ACWUSTM proposes setting up constructed wetlands for in situ wastewater treatment, particularly in informal settlements which constitute a large chunk of the population in urban areas of Indian cities and have little to no access to sewage treatment infrastructure. The ACWUSTM model is comprised of three stages: Construction, Monitoring, and Maintenance. Grants will be sought for the construction of each new wetland, and restoration, as and when required, will be conducted in conjunction with subject matter experts from local universities and regional environmental organizations. Given the delicate issue of ecosystem resilience, the constructed wetlands will be monitored regularly, and the monitoring will be conducted as an educational module for high school and university students interested in ecology and the environmental sciences.
Each stage is independent of the other- while construction is grant-dependent and maintenance will be need-based, monitoring will be administered via a hands-on education module, utilizing the strength of institutional partnerships for conducting educational experiences and for data collection and management. The USP of the ACWUSTM model is that in its entirety, it will be fostering community stewardship of natural resources, knowledge enhancement, and long-term data collection in an ecological engineering project designed to render an urban utility.
This blog chronicles our journey on setting up the pilot project of ACWUSTM, and serves as a medium of connecting with a global audience.
We’re keenly looking for landscape architects, environmental engineers and construction companies with experience in constructed wetlands, as well as colleges and schools interested in getting involved with a hands-on ecological education program.
The blog’s scribe Shruti Syal is a big fan of Truman Capote’s saying that the “greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make”. But chronicling ACWUS’ journey will probably be her best work to date because the best writers write about what they know. You can read more of her articles on New Science Journalism and Suite101 websites.