Western Sydney University is proud to launch the new Australia India Water Centre, to be delivered by a consortium of eight universities and one government partner in Australia, and fifteen universities and research institutions in India.
With a common goal of addressing the critical challenge of water security, sanitation, and water management and distribution in a warming climate, the consortium will foster research collaboration, education, training, and capacity-building.
At a virtual ceremony, delegates from Australia and India commemorated the official opening of the centre with Ministers from the Australian and Indian Governments, Vice-Chancellors and officials from the participating universities, and guests.
“Australia and India face many common issues around water security and sustainability in often hot and dry climates,” said Dr. Basant Maheshwari, Professor in Water, Environment, and Sustainability at Western Sydney University..
“Through a targeted program of knowledge exchange, training opportunities, and transdisciplinary education pathways, the Australia India Water Centre will make significant progress in addressing the challenges of providing safe, clean water to millions of people in Australia, India, and neighbouring regions,” Professor Maheshwari said.
With increasingly urban populations, recent years have seen significant impacts on water supplies in both countries as droughts, prolonged heat and surging demand have resulted in water shortages and river health issues.
Special guests included His Excellency The Hon Barry O’Farrell AO, Australian High Commissioner to India, His Excellency the Hon A. Gitesh Sarma, Indian High Commissioner to Australia, and The Hon Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union Cabinet Minister for the Jal Shakti (Water) Ministry in the Republic of India.
The Australia India Water Centre inception follows the signing in November 2019 of a joint Memorandum of Understanding between the Indian Central Ground Water Board and partners in the MARVI project (Managing Aquifer Recharge and Sustaining Groundwater Use through Village-level Intervention) that has been adopted in seven states in India with 20,000 villages actively participating.
Professor Deborah Sweeney, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President (Research, Enterprise and International) said Western Sydney University is deeply committed to sustainability and having a regional impact, including across Australia and through its partnerships in South Asia.
“With water a central principle of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Western Sydney University is proud to jointly lead the innovative and collaborative Australia India Water Centre to deliver real impact for many millions of people in Australia and India and our wider regions,” said Professor Sweeney.