ADB Youth Photo Contest Winners Highlight Asia’s Water Challenges

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Six images depicting different aspects of Asia's water challenges have won prizes in the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Youth Water Photo Competition.

The competition was launched in August to showcase how youth can contribute to improving water services, water resource management, and water security in Asia and the Pacific.

The youth photo competition, run on Facebook and Instagram as well as through email submissions, is part of the Asia Water Forum 2018, ADB's flagship event on the water sector, which opened Tuesday and is being held until 5 October 2018 at ADB headquarters in Manila. The theme for this year's event is Information, Innovation, and Technology.

The competition, dubbed as #WaterYouDoing, called on youth to share creative ideas or innovative practices that enhance the sustainable use or management of water in the five major areas of ADB's water operations: supplying water, sanitation and water quality, water for food, water for energy, and water resources management. There was an additional people's choice prize for the photograph receiving the most traction on social media.

We have received an overwhelming response from youth across the region with entries from Armenia to Timor-Leste, said ADB's Water Sector Group Chief Mr. Thomas Panella. Each of the nearly 400 entries showed a unique perspective on the value of water and what must be done by both future and present leaders to ensure access, enhance services, and safeguard resources.

Mr. Sarath Kuttikkatuparambil Thilakan, 26, an assistant professor from India, won in the category of supplying water, with a photo of children seen standing outside a water filling station in Mandala slum, Mumbai. His stark black-and-white photo stood out among the entries for its depiction of an urban setting strained by a lack of potable water supply, highlighting a rampant issue among Asia's growing cities.

In the category of sanitation and water quality, Mr. Somraj Sahu, 27, a businessperson from India, won for a photo showing children resorting to using floodwater for a bath or what he deemed as bravery and lack of fear in the face of poor sanitation conditions and impacts of a water-related disaster.

The winner of the best photo in the water for food category was Mr. Kim Alvin De Lara, 27, a Department of Education researcher from the Philippines who depicted pupils in his school using rainwater to water vegetables.

Ms. Sohani Liyanage, 26, a Ph.D. student from Sri Lanka won in the category of best photo of water for energy for her picturesque view of Rantembe Reservoir, Randenigala Dam, and its reservoir taken from the peak of Gonagala Mountain.

Mr. Suraj Kumar, 24, a junior research fellow from India, won in the category of water resources management, for his photo of an arid landscape in Lapodiya village, Jaipur, Rajasthan that employs a grassroots-level approach to water conservation through the chauka system. This innovative community-driven effort is a means to capture water for soil productivity, and he juxtaposed the parched land with the common water bottle.

The special people's choice award for the most reactions in social media was given to Mr. Nkhil Nayak, 22, from India, who garnered a combined total of 2,421 likes, shares, and comments for his photo taken in Kerala of a child trying to waste as little water as possible by repurposing it for washing hair, utensils, and clothes.

All the winners have been invited to attend the Asia Water Forum 2018, through an all-expenses paid trip, and be among over 800 water professionals and representatives from governments of developing member countries, private sector, development partners, academia, media, and civil society.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members�48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.

Source: Asian Development Bank