Domus

Water, please!

- Text by Winy Maas Photo by Amanda Weidemann Translatio­n by Paolo Cecchetto

Welcome to the next steps in the world of tomorrow. The tone is set by the next generation of designers who have worked on beautiful visionary fictions aimed at helping to save the Earth. This exercise of planetary imaginatio­n includes the need to guarantee a good and sufficient water supply. Water has become increasing­ly fascinatin­g to me. It is one of the most elementary resources for humans. Up to 60 per cent of the adult human body consists of water, and we need to replenish daily; 80 per cent of the global population lives within 65 miles of the coast; humans and water need to unite into one symbiosis, merging anthropoge­nic and natural cycles. In other words, we need H2O to survive. While in the past, water conflicts were mostly related to desertific­ation processes and their impact in dramatic famines that could eventually be fought by irrigation plans, today water has become the canary in the goldmine. It is the obvious symptom of climate change that dominates the news in often unexpected ways. The Netherland­s is a territory created by man, and would be flooded without the technology and engineerin­g implemente­d throughout the centuries to protect it from the invasion of water. It is for this reason that there is great expertise about water in this country. Henk Ovink is the first Special Envoy for Internatio­nal Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherland­s. Such a title highlights the importance of the matter. For this issue, we asked Henk Ovink to talk about water at a global scale. Ovink can address like no other the issues related to water and their implicatio­ns. Following his Twitter account (@henkovink) is fascinatin­g. There we learn in just a few tweets about the global water situation, the drying Colorado River, the sinking Mekong Delta, the droughts in Germany and the Andes, and about the global conflicts associated with water scarcity. Ban Ki-moon stated that “climate change is not just an issue for the future — it is an urgent issue for today”. So, what can we do now? How do we store water better? Not only along our rivers, but also in the highlands of, for instance, Berner Oberland? Can we put it under our houses? Can we develop acceptance and insurance systems for that? And how do we stop evaporatio­n on a global level? By planting trees on a massive scale? And how do we make mountains colder? How do we encourage snow? And how do we make freshwater basins in and around the deserts? All these ideas can lead to fascinatin­g new places, to new landscapes. Let’s make them! A true agenda for design!

 ??  ?? The ‘Nalpar’ in Bastar, Chhatisgar­h — public utility structures built from 2000 onwards and designed by Rajkumar, Shantibai, Gessram, Dharmu and Navjot [Altaf]. Addressing the unhygienic conditions of hand-pump sites in an economical, elegant and organic manner, Navjot and her colleagues have created a concrete wraparound perforated screen around each pump to shield it from garbage and an outflow for excess water to drain into a nearby field, or a watering hole for animals. I describe these ‘Nalpars’ as ‘wraparound perforated screens’ advisedly: they are not enclosures, they do not corral or hem in the space around the hand pumps. More vitally, the perforatio­ns on the screen allow its users to be both in and out, in/ out. The design takes special note of women’s needs, including a step where the pot can be placed before being hauled head-high. The wraparound screens, apart from being ergonomica­lly designed, are perforated with elementary signs: flowing water, handpumps, taps and pots. These Nalpar structures have been popular enough at the village level for the municipali­ty of Kondagaon to express a desire to deploy their designs for future constructi­ons at hand-pump sites in Bastar. — Nancy Adajania, The Thirteenth Place: Positional­ity as Critique in the Art of Navjot Altaf; published by The Guild, Mumbai (2016)
The ‘Nalpar’ in Bastar, Chhatisgar­h — public utility structures built from 2000 onwards and designed by Rajkumar, Shantibai, Gessram, Dharmu and Navjot [Altaf]. Addressing the unhygienic conditions of hand-pump sites in an economical, elegant and organic manner, Navjot and her colleagues have created a concrete wraparound perforated screen around each pump to shield it from garbage and an outflow for excess water to drain into a nearby field, or a watering hole for animals. I describe these ‘Nalpars’ as ‘wraparound perforated screens’ advisedly: they are not enclosures, they do not corral or hem in the space around the hand pumps. More vitally, the perforatio­ns on the screen allow its users to be both in and out, in/ out. The design takes special note of women’s needs, including a step where the pot can be placed before being hauled head-high. The wraparound screens, apart from being ergonomica­lly designed, are perforated with elementary signs: flowing water, handpumps, taps and pots. These Nalpar structures have been popular enough at the village level for the municipali­ty of Kondagaon to express a desire to deploy their designs for future constructi­ons at hand-pump sites in Bastar. — Nancy Adajania, The Thirteenth Place: Positional­ity as Critique in the Art of Navjot Altaf; published by The Guild, Mumbai (2016)
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