WSDS 2019: Fourth EU-India Water Forum

Day 3 of WSDS 2019 hosted a session to present the progress of the India-EU Water Partnership and discuss areas of cooperation in India’s water sector.

The third day of the World Sustainable Development Summit at New Delhi saw a joint plenary session held together for the 4th India-EU Water Forum with TERI which talked about the current water management challenges in India and how these are jointly approached within the India-European Union Water Partnership (IEWP). Th IEWP is one of the biggest partnerships between the EU and India on a sustainability issue.

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The forum was inaugurated by Mr. Arjun Ram Meghwal, Indian Minister of State Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation. Many officials from India and the European Union (EU), water experts and researchers were also present.

Akhil Kumar, Joint Secretary of MoWR, RD & GR, who is strongly involved in the IEWP, stated: “The joint efforts and implementation activities within the IEWP input into the Indian water policy strengthening our activities to improve our water resources management and to clean our rivers to contribute to sustainable socio-economics in India”.

Six Expressions of Intent and Memorandum of Understandings were signed and exchanged today between the India-EU Water Partnership (IEWP) and several other European Member States, international organisations as well as an Indian institution at the Water Forum.

Elaborating on the support to the project through exchange of EoIs, Raimund Magis, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Delegation of the European Union to India said “We are working closely with India on nine identified priority areas in the water management sector and with the added expertise and support by the member states, institutions and the businesses, we hope to further step up this collaboration.”

Talking further about the initiative, Henriette Faergemann, First Counsellor of the European Delegation to India, said, “The European Union and its Member States have developed 168 River Basin Management Plans during the last 20 years to improve the water quality of all European rivers. The EU is highly ambitious to bring in technical expertise of the EU Member States and add value to ongoing effort to rejuvenate Indian rivers.”

Wolfram Klein from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development highlighted that Germany and the EU Member States have come a long way to implement effective river rejuvenation. “We can only be successful in cleaning and managing our water resources if we cooperate with our neighboring States towards joint aims and if we accept that this needs time. Rivers cannot become clean from one day to another, it needs years.”

For the 2017-2020 period, nine Priority Areas have been identified, working against established goals, outcomes and milestones. These nine priority areas cover topics where action is being taken by the Government of India, and where the European Union expertise can contribute to the uptake of innovative solutions for water management: 1. Integrated planning; 2. ecological flows; 3. water reuse; 4. groundwater consumption and recharge; 5. Water use in irrigation; 6. solar water pumping, 7. Capacity building; 8. Collaboration in Research and 9. Innovation & Technology.

The India-EU Water Partnership (IEWP) was started in 2015, to foster knowledge transfer between Europe and India on how to better manage water. But so far, the technical exchange has happened on an ad-hoc basis and resulted in briefings, workshops and joint action for addressing data management (e.g. Blueprint for Water).

Image credit: TERI

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