This case study demonstrates how water scientists can shift standard methods for water sampling to include marginalized communities as partners in ethical research. This case argues that water inequities are magnified when participation in scientific inquiry limits the participation of certain groups of people. It used hydrogen sulfide (H2S) testing as part of a larger project tracking water purity practice patterns, responses, and research recommendations of the hydro-socially marginalized people—the people who face not only physical, but also political barriers to water. The methodological innovation draws from engaged ethnography to enable Delhi’s water-poor to sample their own water. In doing so, community members become active partners who can better direct scientific inquiry. Their participation as active partners further empowers them as water stakeholders. It reveals how everyday small-scale cooperative projects became catalysts to inclusive governance.

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