On July 10, Columbia GSAPP Professor and award-winning author Anthony Acciavatti presented new ways of thinking about water filtration methods along the world’s most densely populated river basin - the Ganges river in India. By incorporating the rhythms of the monsoons and “hacking” current filtration systems, Acciavatti explained his insights into the future of urban waterways and why designers must take a holistic approach to dealing with wastewater management and pressing issues surrounding drinking water.

The presentation reflected on his time living near the Ganges and how that experience sparked his own ideas, designs and alternate solutions.

Read more about the event on The Architects Newspaper here.

This event was part of an ongoing series of events, lectures and workshops for The A/D/O #WaterFutures Research Program - a yearlong investment challenging designers to research, concept and ideate scalable solutions to the global drinking water crisis.


Anthony Acciavatti is a historian of science and technology, a cartographer, and an architect. He is the author of the award-winning Ganges Water Machine: Designing New India’s Ancient River, the first comprehensive mapping and history of India's Ganges River basin in half a century. He spent a decade hiking, driving, and boating across the Ganges in order to map it and to understand the historical conflicts over water for drinking, agriculture, and industry. Combining fieldwork with archival research, the book is an atlas of the enterprise to transform the Ganges into the most hyper-engineered landscape in the world. Begun at a moment in time when satellite imagery of this region was difficult to come by, he designed and built his own instruments to map soils and devised guerilla tactics to visualize the choreography of temporary cities and the rhythms of the monsoons. Along with the book, Ganges Water Machine is a traveling exhibition with recent shows in New Delhi and Mumbai. Acciavatti teaches at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) in New York City.

Water Futures is a yearlong research program by A/D/O - curated by Jane Withers - that asks the question, "can designers solve the global drinking water crisis?" Learn more about Water Futures here.