IIT Delhi Ties Up With UK Research Body UKRI To Curb Water Scarcity

IIT-Delhi has partnered with UK Research and Innovation to work on a £20-million project to develop new approaches to tackle challenges to water security and sustainable development.

IIT-Delhi on Monday said it has entered a £20-million international collaboration with UK Research and Innovation to develop new approaches to tackle challenges and barriers to water security and sustainable development.

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“A major project has been launched under the aegis of Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer [FITT], IIT-Delhi, to bring together leading global experts from academia, industry and government to understand the true value of water and address the challenge of water security for all,” IIT-Delhi said in a statement.

The efforts to resolve this are repeatedly thwarted by factors such as pollution, extreme weather, urbanization, over-extraction of groundwater and land degradation, according to experts at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Delhi.

The project is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). And the new UKRI GCRF Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub is one of the 12 hubs being set up to tackle

“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,” Richard Dawson from the School of Engineering at Newcastle University said.

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Dawson is also the academic lead for the new Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub, which is led by the UK-based university. “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,” AK Gosain of the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT-Delhi and a lead researcher with the hub said.

Most of the river basins in India have been found to be overexploited which is corroborated by the “alarmingly falling groundwater tables year after year”, Gosain said, adding, “India accounts for 25 per cent of the total groundwater extracted by the world.” “The conditions are expected to further acerbate in the future due to the impacts of climate change on water resources. Water security in India is going to undergo enhanced threat in the future,” the lead researcher said.

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“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 a good guide to adaptation options under the future conditions,” Gosain said. 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.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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