UK India Digital Water Collaboration
The Indian water sector is at the cusp of large-scale transformation with ongoing government programmes like Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). While the drive on infrastructure development for water and wastewater continues, there is also an accompanying focus on embracing digital solutions to enable and optimise service delivery. With digital approaches helping to tackle challenges and take advantage of opportunities, they are a critical enabler to achieve water security and resilience.
Moves to forge closer links between the UK and India to capitalise on the latest digital technologies currently transforming the global water sector have taken an important step forward with the establishment of the UK India Digital Water Working Group.
Jointly chaired by water sector business leaders from the UK and India, backed by the UK Department for Business and Trade (DBT) and supported by British Water, the Working Group provides an important platform for water industry stakeholders in India and the UK to meet, share information and explore opportunities to support and accelerate digitisation of Indian water resource management. The Working Group spans a wide range of stakeholders, including Professor Tony Conway, a member of UKWP Leadership Council and Lead Author of the UKWP Digital Water White Paper (published in 2020).
During development of the UKWP Digital Water White Paper valuable feedback was received from DBT trade representatives which helped shape the paper into a format which overseas staff would find helpful when engaging with the water sector in their host country.
Following publication, DBT staff in India utilised the UKWP Digital Water White Paper as one element of an approach to help initiate and stimulate a discussion with the Indian water sector. From this early-stage engagement, the relationship has progressively developed to include a wide range of stakeholders and through their commitment the establishment of the UK India Digital Water Working Group, chaired by Victoria Edwards and Sourav Daspatnaik.
Professor Tony Conway reflecting on the UKWP Digital Water White Paper commented, “This is a good example of how a piece of UKWP thought leadership can play its part by helping to initiate a discussion, which leads to wider stakeholders becoming involved, actions being developed and moved forward, and culminates in a positive tangible outcome. In this case the establishment of the UK India Digital Water Working Group with the opportunity to enhance Indian water resource management and improve the lives of many”.
Rishikesh Chanda, Sector Lead – Infra for DBT India added ‘The UKWP Digital Water White Paper by Tony Conway highlights the Digital Interventions in the water sector and has been an important tool in developing the ‘UK India Digital Water’ report. It has also helped in creating a strong platform for the UK-India Digital Water Working Group, which acts as a centralised body of knowledge, enhancing relationships between the UK and India in the digital water space’.