A CONSORTIUM of research institutions in Australia and India, including The University of Western Australia, has launched a new centre to address critical water security and sanitation challenges facing populations worldwide.
The Australia India Water Centre, led by Western Sydney University and the Indian Institute of Technology in Guwahati, includes nine Australian and 15 Indian research institutions coming together to foster research, education, training and capacity building on all aspects of water in both countries.
Recent years have seen significant impacts on water supplies in both countries as droughts, flash floods, prolonged heat and surging demand have resulted in water shortages and river ecosystem health issues.
The consortium will work towards the common goal of addressing the critical challenges of water security, sanitation and water management and distribution in a changing climate.
The partners will collaborate in water research, a joint master's level program in water futures, training of PhD students, student and staff exchanges, workshops and conferences and provide short-term training in the water sector to government agencies and other participants.
The UWA Institute of Agriculture Director Hackett professor Kadambot Siddique said the partnership between Australia and India was a natural fit, as the two countries shared many common challenges in relation to water security, policy, technological innovation and sustainability.
"The combined effects of growing populations, expanding cities and urbanisation of rural areas will see the need for more secure and sustainable water sources continue to rise in Australia and India," professor Siddique said.
"In the meantime, reliable water supply is becoming less certain due to increasing competition, deterioration in the water quality and extreme weather pressures due to climate change.
"The Australia India Water Centre will explore opportunities and create synergy for longer-term, more powerful collaboration in research and education.
"By working together, I believe we have never been better equipped to address the significant challenge of providing safe and plentiful water to millions of people in Australia, India and beyond."
Australian and Indian representatives, including government ministers, and vice-chancellors and officials from participating universities, commemorated the official opening of the Centre and signed a Memorandum of Understanding at a virtual ceremony on November 6, 2020.