The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) will soon be launching the first of its six modern residential training schools under its newly-established facility, the Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute (AAETI). The School of Water and Waste is being designed as a one-of-its-kind capacity-building hub for urban water and sanitation for India and the Global South.
Sunita Narain, Director General of CSE, said: “Our existing ways and methods of managing water and waste have severe problems – they are capital- and natural resource-intensive, and create and maintain a divide between the rich and the poor. Our cities must reinvent and rework the methods and technologies of conveying water and disposing waste. We are hopeful that the School of Water and Waste at AAETI will show the way.”
The school will be the first-of-its-kind in India, and will offer inter-disciplinary, trans-national, practice-based courses. This approach will make participants question the excessive focus on technical aspects such as engineering, finance, planning and politics which affect the management of water and sanitation. Questioning of fundamental assumptions will help in bridging the gap between what a community might want and what the planners think they need.
“An effective, sustainable urban water management process involves preserving ecological integrity of water-supply systems, wasting less water, allowing fair access to supply systems and giving people a say in how water resources are to be developed and used,” said Suresh Rohilla, Program Director, Urban Water Program, CSE, at the meeting.
The school will include a unique referral laboratory on septage management, which will test different tools, approaches and efficiencies of various decentralized wastewater management systems.
AAETI, a full-fledged residential training and research campus developed by CSE in Nimli, near Alwar, in Rajasthan, became operational this year. The facility will house six premier centers of learning – its schools – and concentrate on building capacity of regulators, environmental managers, activists and communicators on issues of environment and development.