New Delhi: The Indian Institute of Technology – Delhi has partnered with UK Research and Innovation to work on a 20-million-pound project to develop new approaches to tackle challenges to water security and sustainable development. Eighty per cent of the world’s population lives in areas threatened by water security, but efforts to resolve this are repeatedly thwarted by factors such as pollution, extreme weather, urbanisation, over-abstraction of groundwater and land degradation, according to experts at the IIT in Delhi.
The UK Research and Innovation is a new body that works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish, as per its website. The project is aimed at bringing together leading global experts from the academia, industry and government to understand and address the challenges to water security. Richard Dawson from the School of Engineering at Newcastle University said,
Access to clean water is essential for life and it is the stepping stone to sustainable development because it improves health, supports jobs, and enables food production.
Mr. Dawson is also the academic lead for the new Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub, which is led by the UK-based University. AK Gosain of the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT-Delhi and a lead researcher with the hub said,
The water security of India is at stake because of the ever increasing demands for water, not only for irrigation but also for industrial and domestic sector.
Most of the river basins in India have been found to be over exploited which is corroborated by the “alarmingly falling groundwater tables year after year”, Mr. Gosain said, adding,
India accounts for 25 per cent of the total groundwater extracted by the world.
Mr. Gosain said,
The conditions are expected to further acerbate in the future due the impacts of climate change on water resources. Water security in India is going to undergo enhanced threat in the future. Hence, this is the most opportune time to judiciously look into the reasons why the present water stress has been created so that appropriate and sustainable solutions are obtained for the present which should also serve as good guide to adaptation options under the future conditions.
Starting March, 2019, the Newcastle University- led water security Hub will run for five years and bring together leading research partners from IIT-Delhi, School of Planning and Architecture, Colombia University, University of Leeds, University of Oxford and the International Water Management Institute.
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