Hamare Pani

Clean water for India

My Tasks:
Ideation, Research, Visual design, Prototyping, Motion design

In 2015 I worked as a design consultant for a big Indian telecommunication company and lived in Mumbai for three months. I used my impressions and what I learned, when I visited Dharavi, one of the biggest slum areas in Asia, to think about ways to tackle the problem of water contamination using UX and cooperative design methods.


Already 50% of the world‘s population live in cities.


More and more people leave the rural regions to try and make a living in a city.


There‘s a limited capacity and the rental prices are increasing.


In a city like Mumbai the people are forced to move to the slum areas because they can not afford to rent an appartment. Mumbai is the least affordable city in the world.


Dharavi, one of the biggest slums in Mumbai, while being well located in the center of the city, has a serious drinking water problem.


The old water pipelines often leak and have been layed next to the waste water which lets dangerous bacteria get into the drinking water.

Water reservoir


Water trucks

Water Pumps

Water Mafia

There are only a few possibilities

to get drinking water in Dharavi and they are either expensive, time consuming or

run a high risk of contamination.


Residents of Dharavi

Water reservoir



A possible solution would be to use sensor enhanced water pumps, which detect if the water  is clean or not. In case of a contamination, the data could be used to find the leak.


Hamare Pani, which means »Our water« in Hindi, is a cooperative design approach, a campaign, a movement...


The goal is to create ideas on how a smart sensor in water pumps could be used to provide clean water for everyone. This is a project for the community, which should be led by the community according to their specific needs.

The Lotus, the Logo of Hamare Pani, is a symbol for purity in hinduism, buddhism and the islam.



and first ideas

Roleplaying and

simple prototypes

Search for sponsors and campaign

First smart pumps

and app prototype

Project becomes

They know the use cases with all their different problems, they are the experts of their daily life. The most important thing is, to listen to their needs, fears and expectations.


If all groups of people, regardless of their race, religion or gender feel, that their voice is heard, they will become stakeholders and accept and take over the project.

To come up with possible solutions, why don‘t we ask the local people?

A sensor could collect the following data:

But how could it be used?

Is the water clean?

At which time and how often was a pump used?

Where exactly?


To simulate, what a possible outcome of this cooperative design approach could be I came up with four ideas which build on another on how smart pumps could be used.


In a real-life scenario the ideas should come from the locals in telling, making and enacting workshops. The most important thing is a dialogue and conversation between all stakeholders who share their expertise andexperiences by talking, the creation of simple prototypes and role playing.


After the first four phases of the project, it should  become

self-sufficient. The local community should drive new ideas

and inventions and lead Hamare Pani.

There will be new stakeholders and new ways how to use the data. The main groups of people who will be involved I see are:



The data gathered with smart sensors in water pumps would be an important tool for local doctors and hospitals as an indicator from where a disease will spread. This is not a new idea. 1854 Dr. John Snow and Edmund Cooper used a map matrix to find the responsible disease herd from where a cholera epidemic spread.


The Government

The governmental water supply could be optimized because the sensors will provide information about which pipelines have a leak, which pumps are unusable and when and where the water supply by pump is insufficient.


Companies / NGO's

There will be a high variety of possibilities for NGO's and companies to support and become part of the project. The sensors won't work without an internet connection that's why one of the most important arrangements will be the provision of (free) wifi. This is a huge opportunity for companies like Jio or Airtel to become a member of Hamare Pani and connect it to a valuable advertising campaign.




Be part of this project

If you would like to join Hamare Pani as a sponsor or supporter, if you have new ideas on how to use the sensor data or if you think that this project should be applied to your country or neighbourhood, get in touch with us:






The water is clean

Cook the water

Don't drink the water



This flag coud be used from the first stage of the

project onwards. The local pump operator after testing the water quality with test strips would hoist the corresponding flag.


The design of the flags is derived from traditional color meaning in hinduism.



The goal of this campaign is to distribute the idea of Hamare Pani and to test the flag idea. A sticker on water containers, which have been produced in Dharavi, will given away for free, will inform about the flags and the two stages of contamination.


More than 11 languages are spoken in India and many people can not read. Therefore the flag signals need to be comprehensible even without the usage of words.


Which illustrations work should be tested by the local people as they are the experts.



Existing water pumps could be enhanced with sensors to gather live information about a possible water contamination.

Those sensors are expensive and sponsors and investors  would be required. The plan is to only create one smart pump at a time and test it directly.


Three LEDs display the state of the water and mirror the meaning of the Flags. After reading the information, the operator would hoist the flag. In the future this could even happen automatically.

The water is clean

Cook the water

Don't drink the water



The smartphone app is planned for the last phase of the project. Android phones are available for less than 40€ and I saw many people with smart phones, when I visited Dharavi in the summer of 2015. The app has two main features:


1 Where is the next smart pump, which provides clean water.

2 When and where do the next water truck deliveries arrive


The most difficult thing about designing an app for this target group again is, that so many people from different cultures who speak over 11 different languages live in Dharavi and a high percentage never learned how to read. The app has been designed with this restriction in mind.

Download the app

Version 2.01

Only for Android




Roleplaying & Prototypes


Search for sponsors


App & Smart pump tests