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India turns to Australian water experts


India’s desert state invests in water management expertise from South Australia.

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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 International Centre of Excellence for Water and Resource Management (ICE WaRM) in South Australia’s capital Adelaide provides training in water recycling, treatment and management.

ICE WaRM CEO Richard Hopkins said the Rajasthan Government was considering investing in a joint Centre of Excellence in the 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 said.

“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.”

Last year Rajasthan hosted a South Australian trade mission where both governments signed a sister-state agreement to promote investment and business opportunities.

An agreement was signed this week during a second business mission to India between the Water Industry Alliance and the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Triveni Water Institute to share technologies.

“South Australia is a leader in many areas of water management and we are well placed to support international partners like India to address challenging environmental conditions,” South Australian Minister for and Investment and Trade Martin Hamilton-Smith said at the time of signing the agreement.

The relationship will provide a platform for collaboration between states in the areas of manufacturing, resources and energy, skills, and tourism – with a focus in water resource management.

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 said.

“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.”

Former National Chair of the Australia India Business Council Brian Hayes said the bilateral relationship between Rajasthan and South Australia would see a boost to other business and 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,” Hayes said.

“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.

South Australia 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 UniversityUniversity of South Australia, and the University of Adelaide, each of which are consistently rated highly in the international higher education rankings.

Other organisations such as train simulation experts Sydac and renewable energy company Heliostat had already established bases in Rajasthan.

Hayes said another South Australian business mission to Rajasthan in August would introduce more experts and companies looking to do business, and would bolster the growing relationship.

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