What’s the future of clean water in India and the world?

Clean water is essential for life. The United States is working with partners in Chennai, India, to supply information about sustainable water management.

The two-year Water Matters initiative explores the future of safe water around the world and addresses the 2019 water crisis in Chennai, where drought exacerbated by climate change left millions without water.

The U.S. Consulate General in Chennai recently sponsored two collaborative exhibitions. The first, the “Submerge” exhibition, ran from December 14, 2019, to January 30, 2020, at the Bangalore International Centre. A collaboration of the Smithsonian Institution and Science Gallery Bengaluru, this exhibition blended science and art to creatively address the future of water management around the world.

Another exhibition, “Water Matters,” debuted in Chennai in February 2020 and was organized by the U.S. Consulate General and Care Earth Trust along with fellowships and public-private partnerships.

Schoolchildren looking at a display of water bowls (© Care Earth Trust Chennai)
Visitors experiment with a jal tarang, a musical instrument consisting of water-filled porcelain bowls, at the “Water Matters” exhibition. (© Care Earth Trust Chennai)

The show built upon the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service’s “H2O Today” and included 53 panels about innovations in sustainable water management in addition to installations, information kiosks and interactive educational experiences for visitors.

“Water Matters” attracted more than 24,000 visitors in three weeks, before the COVID-19 pandemic prevented in-person gatherings.

To continue the Water Matters initiative virtually, the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai and Care Earth Trust launched “Museum in a Box” in November 2020. Educators can use this online exhibition in elementary and middle school classrooms to teach the importance of sustainable water management. The bilingual curriculum (in English and Tamil) includes animated films, tutorial videos, interactive games and puzzles.

“Sustainable water management is a shared challenge with solutions that can be improved through education, innovation, and greater U.S.-India partnership. Water Matters serves as a first, but elemental drop to fill this need,” said Public Affairs Officer Anne Seshadri of U.S. Consulate General Chennai.

Man and woman looking at a picture of the Earth in an exhibit (© Science Gallery Bengaluru)
The “Submerge” exhibition drew visitors in Bengaluru, India. (© Science Gallery Bengaluru)