- Reseach project
- – Western Pacific
Read the latest updates about the International WaterCentre, as well as contemporary water sector insights, water management news, and conversations with researchers, practitioners and students, from both Australia and abroad.
India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is leading his country through sustainability and water conservation changes. Last year, during his customary radio address on Indian radio station Mann Ki Baat, Prime Minister Modi called upon his people to make conservation of water a collective responsibility. “We often hear that there might be wars due to scarcity of water in [the] future,” he said. “Therefore, we must assume our responsibility to conserve water and we must ensure conservation of water in every possible manner." His efforts towards conservation saw him honoured with the United Nations’ Champions of the Earth’ award in October 2018. During his acceptance speech, Modi dedicated the award to the invisible faces of India who contribute to conservation of nature. He said climate and calamity are directly linked to culture. “It will be difficult to avoid calamity as long as concerns for the climate do not become part of the local culture.” He said the honour belonged to tribal forest dwellers who play an important role in forest conservation, to the fishermen who abstain from fishing during the breeding season and to the farmers who are dependent on the seasonal weather cycle for their livelihood.
In arid regions, fresh water is a scarce and precious resource that must be delivered from a distance—maybe by truck or pipe, or via a desalination plant. An emerging alternative is to harvest fresh water from the atmosphere. Even the driest environments harbour an abundance of water vapour. The problem remains to convert it into liquid form so it can be drunk—or used to irrigate crops. Traditionally, research in this area has concentrated on creating cold surfaces where water vapour can condense. However, the high energy requirement means that a variety of other methods have come to the fore. And, while largely unproven commercially, they hold promise for the future.
“We only have the one [planet], and we’re not going anywhere yet. My perspective is about having a conscience of equity, and this reflects my approach to the world, particularly surrounding water, sanitation and security. I believe that an equality of opportunity is very important.” Although Rosie grew up among the farms of rural northern New South Wales in the south east of Australia, she’s no stranger to an overseas adventure. Her career as an environmental engineer has seen her work across the world – from India to Sudan, Bangladesh to Uganda. But she believes now is the right time for her to return home to Australia, to share her experiences and insights, and to explore ways to leverage her knowledge to better protect our local water resources. “I think I had a very idyllic childhood, growing up in the bush. Mum was a teacher and Dad was a lawyer, so they weren’t farmers, but we were surrounded by farms. We loved it when we were young kids … and now that I’m older, all I want to do is go back.”
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a A$508.31 million grant – one of the largest grants ever awarded by the ADB – as part of a A$1 billion water resources project in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – a project being led by International WaterCentre (IWC) alumnus, Hans Woldring. The Arghandab Integrated Water Resources Development Project is a national priority project that aims to develop water resources in the Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, to help improve the country’s agricultural productivity, water resources management, energy generation and growth outlook. The multi-sector project represents an integrated approach to water resource development, meeting the needs of rural and urban communities downstream of the province’s ageing Dahla Dam and improving how water resources are managed and used in the Arghandab River Basin.
Last month, the International WaterCentre (IWC) welcomed 26 participants from across the Asia-Pacific region for the Asia-Australia Learning Week 2019, to discuss the role of decision support tools in water policy development, investment planning and the on-ground management of water resources. Participants came from 14 countries from across the region, and comprised of nine Asian Development Bank (ADB) staff and 17 representatives from ADB Developing Member Countries. The group represented a broad cross-section of professional backgrounds seen across the water sector – civil engineers, policy and planning officers, economists, finance specialists, hydrologists, environmental scientists, social scientists and IT experts – and were each at different stages of their careers – from specialists, to mid-level managers to country-level directors.