India has an urban population of 377 million and is expected to grow to 590 million by 2030. Increased urbanization has been pressurizing the country’s urban water and sanitation infrastructure and thus creating roadblocks in improving service levels.
Critical issues that hinder service delivery are a lack of capacity, innovative and sustainable solutions, evidenced knowledge, and partnerships. This particularly impacts India’s growing number of urban poor.
The rapid pace of urbanization growing at an annual growth rate of 2.1% further compounds this problem and sustainability of water and sanitation services are expected to be affected even more severely in future.
Therefore, the urban WASH sector needs urgent attention.
To expand and scale, conventional WASH infrastructure and services would need support from innovative technology and business solutions. Technologies, which can unlock the constraints of space, water resources and energy requirements; business solutions, which can overcome the issue of inadequate cost recovery from user charges and can bring improved quality and efficiency. However, innovations to sustain and fructify would require collaborative support from all stakeholders – government, private sector, academia, community, and innovators.
IHUWASH: Innovation Hub for Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Solutions
IHUWASH is a collaborative initiative of the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), TARU Leading Edge, IRC and Ennovent. It is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and aims to improve the performance of urban WASH programs within a collaborative framework. It works through incubation and acceleration of innovative, scalable, community and market-based solutions using technologies, programs and service delivery models.
Under IHUWASH, national and city-level innovation hubs have been established. These innovation hubs are working closely with the administration of Faridabad, Mysore and Udaipur cities to identify city-level WASH issues and address them by contextualising, testing and scaling effective, affordable and sustainable innovations, sourced at the national and international level.