Joint Indo-UK event aims to close the gap between water scientists and water managers across southern India states

A three day India-UK Water Centre (IUKWC) event held in Kochi between 23rd and 25th January 2018 brought together leading water scientists from the UK and India with state level water policy and management bodies from six southern States. The event was the first in the Centre's planned series of User Engagement Initiatives which are designed to bring together scientists with policy makers, regulators and commercial companies to support the communication of joint India-UK water security science to users. The event was planned by IUKWC in collaboration with the Plymouth Marine laboratory, UK and Nansen Environmental Research Centre, Kochi.

Dr A K Sahai, one of the Centre's co-Coordinators from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) said, "The IUKWC aims to support the translation and communication of outcomes from India-UK water research to users via its directed User Engagement Initiatives. We were delighted to be able to host the first of these events in Kochi and look forward to expanding the series to provide benefits to other sectors through future Initiatives in other parts of India."

The event was multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder in nature. Representatives from organizations responsible for the development of water policy and the management of freshwater issues in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa attended. This included Kerala biodiversity board, Kerala water resources department, Karnataka State Biodiversity board, Karnataka Water resources department, Maharashtra Pollution Control board, Tamil Nadu Water supply board, Orissa Pollution Control board amongst others.

Discussion focused on the crucially important theme of Improving Freshwater Monitoring Frameworks and Data for Research and Management. Scientists from UK and Indian institutions presented the state of art in joint India-UK water security research in the areas of water supply and management, water quality, biodiversity and irrigation. Indian Institutions including The National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee, National Institute of Oceanography, Kochi, CMFRI, Kochi, IIT, Roorkee, ATREE, Cochin University of Science & Technology, IISc, Bangalore, National Water Academy amongst others participated actively in the initiative. UK participants included experts from Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, British Geological Survey, University of Stirling and University of Portsmouth.

Dr Harry Dixon of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) and the UK co-Coordinator of the IUKWC said, "The last few years have seen a significant rise in collaborative Indo-UK research in the area of water, reflecting the advanced hydrological science being conducted in both countries and important investments by the Governments of India and UK in joint water research programmes. Brining scientists together with those organisations who are faced with the day-to-day management of freshwater in India is vital to tackle the significant challenges presented by a rising population, rapid economic development and climate change. We see event such as the one held in Kochi as an important platform for such collaboration."

Details of the event can be found here.