Unique joint initiative by India, Australia to address water challenges

Innovative Young Water Professional Programme goes on stream

In continuance of the collaboration in areas of water research, training, and education between Australia and India, the National Hydrology Project functioning under the Department of Water Resources, Ministry of Jal Shakti, had kickstarted efforts toward an innovative Young Water Professional Programme. The initiative was taken forward in association with Western Sydney University and Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, lead of the Australia India Water Centre.

Aimed at building the capacity of Young Water Professionals (YWPs), the programme provided them with the required knowledge, skills, attitude, and aptitude to offer their best in the country’s water sector by accepting leadership roles and responsibilities.  This is one of the several activities supported by the Ministry of Jal Shakti, the Australian Water Partnership, Western Sydney University, and the IIT, Guwahati. The concluding event of this 11-month YWP programme got underway on 23rd November.

Training young water professionals

As per the plan, the Young Water Professional Programme focussed on gender equality and diversity. As its first phase, the programme picked 20 (10 men and 10 women) young officers from the National Hydrology Project’s central and state implementing agencies in its pursuit.

The Australia India Water Centre had brought together eight universities and one State Government Department from Australia and 16 IITs and key universities of India. According to Debashree Mukherjee, Special Secretary, DOWR, India and Australia are natural partners and this collaboration to train young water professionals is an important step in the right direction. She stressed the need to orienting capacity building initiatives to meet the challenges likely to be posed by climate change and emphasized that the departments, institutions and academia need to break the silos in which they are working and holistic approach be adopted while dealing with water.

My Well app to help villagers to manage groundwater resources

Further, the Western Sydney University, with the Ministry of Jal Shakti and the Australian Water Partnership, launched an app for farmers and ordinary citizens, ‘My Well’.  A citizen science tool for participatory monitoring and visualisation of groundwater, surface water, rainfall, water quality, check dam water levels, and other parameters, the new app will be used by villagers trained to manage their groundwater resources.

 It has been noted that the YWP programme has major focus on project-based learning with real-world situations and clients. Prof. Deborah Sweeny, Dy. Vice-Chancellor of Western Sydney University, was quoted in a government communique as saying that it not only provides technical capacity building, but also develops the critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership, and project management skills needed for management of water resources and water management reforms in India. The collaboration between the two nations is seen as key for both India and Australia.

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