WATER management solutions are the foundation of a growing business relationship between Rajasthan and South Australia, the driest states in their respective countries.
South Australia’s Special Envoy to India, Brian Hayes QC, says this bilateral relationship between Rajasthan and South Australia to solve water shortages would also boost investment opportunities in the areas of sport, education and services.
“Every country is beating down on India’s door at the moment and as a state South Australia has been at the forefront of engagement with India,” says Hayes, who is also the former chair of the Australia India Business Council.
India is hosting a week-long South Australian trade mission this month to Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai with a focus on education, tourism, food and wine, defence, health and the water sector.
The 70-strong mission will build on the new sister state relationship between South Australia and Rajasthan signed last year to promote investment and business opportunities.
The relationship provides a platform for collaboration between states in the areas of manufacturing, resources and energy, skills, and tourism – with a focus in water resource management.
India’s driest state is looking to South Australia to help develop ways to reuse, harvest and maximise the efficiency of one of its most precious resources, water.
The sister states signed an agreement to establish a new water centre of excellence in Jaipur.
The Centre of Excellence in Water and Resource Management agreement is the next step towards India having a nationally and internationally recognised centre for leadership and innovation in water resource management, education, training and research.
The agreement will enhance the already strong relationship with South Australia’s own International Centre of Excellence in Water Resource Management (ICEWaRM), and exchanges of knowledge and technology will assist Rajasthan manage its own and other water resources across India.
ICE WaRM provides training in water recycling, treatment and management from its base in South Australia’s capital Adelaide.
ICE WaRM CEO Richard Hopkins says the Rajasthan government is considering investing in a joint Centre of Excellence in his state’s capital Jaipur to provide key research and training in water management.
“ICE WaRM is all about the sharing of ideas and specific training in water management. What we hope to do in Rajasthan is highlight key ideas and concepts and those they wish to pursue we can assist,” he says.
“There is a huge dependence on groundwater there and a lot of the work we have been doing in South Australia is to do with managed aquifer recharge where we pump treated water into a groundwater system so we can use it later on.
“This technique, and some others, may well be appropriate to manage water in Rajasthan.”
The two states are geographical similar in terms of size and arid landscape.
With a population of 75 million in the northwest of India, Rajasthan is heavily reliant on its agriculture industry. But it can access just one per cent of India’s water resources.
South Australia – Australia’s driest state – is being increasingly recognised as a world leader in water treatment. It is home to more than 150 water-related organisations that have developed effective water management techniques.
There are almost 50 operational aquifer storage and reuse sites across the state.
Pumping harvested potable water into an aquifer is a common technique in the municipal, industrial and agricultural sectors.
“We manage water scarcity very well in South Australia, mainly because we don’t have a lot of it,” Hopkins says.
“Reuse schemes may well be appropriate to help manage water there (in Rajasthan) and could be a solution to importing more water at a vast expense.”
Brian Hayes says that Rajasthan’s Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is seeking investment opportunities.
“Rajasthan has a very proactive chief minister who is keen to engage with partners and we are looking at a number of projects in other areas as well like education and normal business and investment.”
The Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy, based in Adelaide, is planning to establish facilities in Jaipur this August. The program will collaborate with local cricket organisations to develop programs for young players aged between 16 to 19 years old.
Other organisations such as train simulation experts Sydac and renewable energy company Heliostat had already established bases in Rajasthan and water company Hydro-dis is looking to help with the River Ganga project.
South Australia has set up an Investment Attraction agency to streamline the path to a secure investment, provide policy and regulatory assistance to accelerate investments and to help access South Australia’s skilled local workforce, ensuring investors are connected to professionals who can deliver results.
Investment Attraction South Australia recently helped Babcock International set up its regional headquarters in Adelaide to service Australia, Southeast Asia and India.
Babcock Australasia Chief Executive Officer Craig Lockhart said South Australia was the logical choice for our new Australasian headquarters, and the Babcock Mission Critical Services base, because it expands our existing presence here and centralises our helicopter operations in Australia.
“We can see that there’s a great pool of talent in South Australia, particularly in engineering, and there are promising synergies with the significant and growing defence industry,” Mr Lockhart said.
“We appreciate the support of the State Government and Investment Attraction South Australia in helping us to consolidate and expand our operations in Adelaide.”
Adelaide is also a key destination for Indian students looking to further their tertiary education, where they make up more than 10 per cent of the 32,000 international student enrolments in Adelaide each year.
Adelaide has three long-standing public universities, Flinders University, University of South Australia, and the University of Adelaide, each of which are consistently rated highly in the international higher education rankings.Jump to next article