Water research to flow from international meeting
Researchers from India and Australia have pledged to join forces to help overcome key problems in water resources management, following a meeting of water engineering experts from both countries at the University of Adelaide.
Adelaide hosted a four-day workshop of researchers in water resources engineering from India and Australia last month, aimed at exploring areas of common research interest and building links between the two countries.
The workshop brought together senior researchers from five technological institutes in India with experts from four Australian universities.
"India and Australia have a number of similar issues when it comes to water and water resources management, and the expertise needed to overcome those issues is something that we can all potentially benefit from," said the coordinator of the workshop, Professor Graeme Dandy from the School of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Adelaide.
"There is no doubt that water resources management is a very real concern for many countries around the world, with high environmental, economic and social consequences for getting it wrong. By working together, Australia and India stand to make important gains."
There were two keynote speakers at the four-day event, both of them prominent academics from India: Professor Kalyanmoy Deb from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, and Professor BS Murty from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras.
Professor Murty hailed the workshop a success, and said it would result in a number of joint research proposals being developed within a few weeks.
"The workshop has been extremely valuable," Professor Murty said. "We were able to identify many common areas of research interest. There are very common linkages - it's just that we had not thought about this kind of workshop before.
"The organisers have had a great vision in terms of organising this workshop. There is strength in numbers, complementing each other's areas of expertise," he said.
The main outcome of the workshop was the agreement among experts from both countries that they would collaborate and bid for funding for joint research projects.
"We are also planning to visit each other more often, to keep the contact going. This is just the starting point," Professor Murty said.
Professor Dandy said eight research areas had been identified out of the workshop, with each project to have one team leader from both Australia and India.
Key areas of research for the group to collaborate on include:
- Identifying water catchments and river basins in India and Australia that share common features, for a comparative study;
- Improvements in management and understanding of complex water systems by integrating problem-specific knowledge with computer models;
- Studies of water distribution networks, and their monitoring, control and management;
- The impact of climate change and climate variability on water resources management;
- Flooding in urban areas;
- Urban water supply and the use of integrated water management in cities, with a view towards sustainable outcomes.
An international conference on water resources and hydrology will be held in Adelaide next year, called Water Down Under 2008. Another India-Australia workshop is planned in conjunction with that conference.
Story by David Ellis