Tackling Water Insecurity in South Asia: The Case for Reviving Historic Water Management Systems

An On My Watch Event

With Mohan Rao, Yaaminey Mubayi, and Jharna Joshi

Join us for a panel discussion exploring World Monuments Fund’s (WMF) ongoing efforts to tackle water insecurity in South Asia by reviving historic water management systems in India and Nepal. Moderated by WMF Vice President of Programs Jonathan S. Bell, the event will consider the opportunities presented by these efforts to address intersecting contemporary issues, including the impacts of urbanization and climate change on access to clean water. 

Featured projects will include the Historic Water Systems of India and the Hitis (water fountains) of the Kathmandu Valley, both of which originated with WMF’s World Monuments Watch, a program that brings together individuals, communities, and leaders from across the public and private sectors to safeguard irreplaceable cultural heritage.

Date: Wednesday, May 31
Time: 10:00 am ET | 7:30pm IST
Location: Zoom Webinar

This event has already taken place.

Leadership support for WMF’s project to rehabilitate historic water systems of India is provided by TCS Foundation. WMF’s work at the Hitis (water fountains) of the Kathmandu Valley is made possible, in part, by the Watch Committee of World Monuments Fund, American Express, and Tianaderrah Foundation / Nellie and Robert Gipson.

About the Speakers

Jharna Joshi

Architect and Visiting Associate Professor at Kathmandu University

Jharna Joshi has more than twenty years of experience in architecture, conservation, tourism and teaching in Nepal, China, Hong Kong, USA, Vietnam, Greece, Pakistan and New Zealand. She has worked as a heritage and infrastructure specialist with national and international agencies as well as educational institutions. Her notable project includes the Bandipur Eco Cultural Tourism Project that developed Bandipur, a hilltop town in Nepal as a new tourism destination by promoting and preserving the local culture and heritage engaging the local stakeholders and international partner cities. Currently, she is involved in designing and restoring traditional buildings as well as teaching at architectural institutions and consulting in various projects.


Yaaminey Mubayi

Historian and Author 

Yaaminey Mubayi is a historian who has worked in the area of cultural heritage and community development over the past 20 years. Her work includes studies of craft, local histories, community memories, traditional knowledge, and indigenous ecologies. She has published widely in these areas, including the books Water and Historic Settlements: The Making of a Cultural Landscape, published in 2022 and Altar of Power – The temple and the state in the land of Jagannatha, published in 2005. Yaaminey lives with her family in New Delhi, India, and, in recent years, has focused her energies on teaching, research and writing.


Mohan Rao

Principal Designer at Integrated Design (INDÉ)

Mohan Rao is an environmental design and landscape architecture professional, and a partner at Integrated Design (INDÉ), a multidisciplinary consultancy practice in regional planning, environmental design and landscape architecture. He is actively involved in the master planning of existing and new settlements; ecological restoration/conservation; impact assessment of natural disasters, management and reconstruction; resource assessment and management; as well as conservation and site interpretation of world heritage sites. Through his many projects, he has tried to elucidate that landscape architecture should not only look good in plans but should also achieve an ecological function. Rao is currently involved in master planning, regional planning and sustainable development projects across the Indian subcontinent, Morocco, Libya, France and China.


Jonathan S. Bell

Vice President of Programs, World Monuments Fund

Dr. Bell came to World Monuments Fund from National Geographic Society, where he oversaw a large portfolio of projects that included archaeological research and cultural heritage. Over the course of his career, he worked with the Getty Conservation Institute on World Heritage Sites in China and Egypt, evaluated cultural site management from Kazakhstan to Colombia, and oversaw strategic planning for largescale flood infrastructure for the County of Los Angeles. Dr. Bell serves on multiple ICOMOS scientific committees as an expert member and sits on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Architectural Conservation. He holds a BA from Harvard University, a DEA from the Sorbonne, an MSc in Historic Preservation from Columbia University, and a PhD in Urban Planning from UCLA.


About On My Watch

On My Watch is a series of conversations inviting architects, urban planners, preservationists, local stakeholders, and WMF project managers to explore the political, cultural, and technical issues around the preservation of at-risk cultural heritage sites on the World Monuments Watch around the world.