Shreya is the co-founder and the head of design and operations at The Better Design Foundation (BDF). She has designed a water-efficient sanitation facility that 20-25 users can share in urban slums in Bangalore. Most dwellings are too small for in-house toilets, which leads to a dependence on community toilets (which are shared by up to 80 households). When community/public toilets have long queues, are unsanitary or unaffordable, people have little choice but to resort to open defecation.
Shreya’s design is sensitive to the issues that the urban poor in Bangalore face; the toilets are built on terraces to combat the additional problems of land availability, and the design incorporates a greywater recycling system. This resolves issues relating to the accessibility of water, which is a major challenge in urban slums. Women are usually required to collect water for their household by foot from communal taps that are anywhere from 50m to over 1Km away from their houses. Shreya has designed the system to collect water from brushing, bathing and laundry, which will then get recycled as flush water. This reduces the freshwater requirement per user by up to 50%. Moreover, Shreya’s innovation includes the addition of a novel ‘urine-diverting toilet’, which creates a revenue stream; collected urine can be sold to fertilizer manufacturers and then the income can be used for the maintenance of the latrine.