The Water Anchor and the Water and Sanitation Programme of the World Bank held a unique event, a Water Hackathon, to develop prototypes in mobile applications to help address issues in the water and sanitation sector.

The aim was to identify problems in the water sector and ask ethical “hackers” from mobile phone application developer communities to code possible solutions to them. As part of this global event — it is being held in 10 cities across the world — the Water and Sanitation Programme of the World Bank (WSP), the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) and the India Water Portal (IWP) organised the first ever Water Hackathon in Bangalore between from October 21 to October 23.

Problems in the sector

Phase I of the event kicked off with workshops in Delhi and Bangalore with experts from the water sector brainstorming and identifying problems which could be addressed. Some of the problems identified were inconsistent and unpredictable water supply to slums, locating and rating of public restrooms, customer complaint and redressal, status of application for subsidy and enhancing accountability and predictability of water tankers in urban India.

Coding marathon

Phase II was started with a briefing event on October 21, which included eminent speakers such as Sam Pitroda. Thereafter, there was a two-day coding marathon on October 22 and 23 on the IIIT-B campus here, organised by IIHS. As many as 94 hackers in 22 teams presented their solutions to a peer review, which was then moderated by a jury. Six teams were awarded prizes by A. Ravindra, Advisor to the Chief Minister of Karnataka on Urban Affairs.

In Phase III, some of these solutions will be taken up for development into full-fledged real-world applications, with support from the World Bank (through their Water Ambassador Program), Departments of the Government of India and the India Water Portal.

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