Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat virtually inaugurated the Australia-India Water Centre (AIWC) on November 6, 2020.The Centre will be led by IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Guwahati & University of Western Sydney along with another 21 partners from India & Australia.
Australia’s Minister of Education Dan Tehan, Indian High Commissioner to Australia Gitesh Sarma, Australian High Commissioner to India Barry O’Farrell, Director of IIT Guwahati, Professor T. G. Sitharam were present during the inauguration.
i.AIWC will promote water-related research, teaching and training between India and Australia.
ii.It will focus on Collaboration in Transdisciplinary water research, capacity building, knowledge & technology transfer and water, food security.
i.AIWC will enable both countries to explore opportunities for safe drinking water supplies, river health, water-energy-food nexus, and water for liveable cities.
ii.The MoU has been signed for a duration of 5 years.
iii.The MoU proposes for joint development of tools and techniques to tackle future water and food security challenges such as improving management of groundwater, springs, stormwater, and coastal reservoirs.
iv.AIWC will enable opportunities such as
- Collaboration in Water Research
- Establishment of Master’s Level Programme in Water Resource Management
- Exchange programme & Workshops for students and staff.
- Short-term training in the water sector to Government agencies/policy makers/NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) and other participants.
i.During the virtual summit between Prime Ministers of India & Australia in June 2020, Both the leaders stated that water security is a critical challenge to both countries and agreed to deepen technical cooperation to improve water management and sustainable economic development.
ii.With this background, several universities, research organisations and business partners from both countries committed to establish AIWC.
iii.An MoU was signed for the establishment of AIWC between the parties.
India & Australia:
i.Both countries face similar water-related issues and challenges. It includes natural extremes of floods and droughts, increased competition for water between urban, peri-urban and rural sectors and increased threats to water security from climate change.
ii.They face the threat of over-exploitation and water quality degradation of surface and groundwater resources.
Recent Related News:
i.On June 4, 2020, the first India-Australia virtual leader’s summit was held between Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison. This was PM Narendra Modi’s first virtual bilateral summit, while Australia has held such a summit with Singapore in March, 2020.
Prime Minister – Scott Morrison
Capital – Canberra
Currency – Australian Dollar (AUD)