Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bristol-based University of the West of England (UWE) to collaborate on promoting water-sensitive design and planning. Said Suresh Rohilla, senior director, water and wastewater management programme, CSE: “This partnership is a need-based knowledge engagement for collaborative research and knowledge exchange – essentially, to build capacity and share experiences in areas of mutual interest aimed at enhancing water security.”
The initiatives under this partnership will be co-produced and managed by sub-units of CSE and UWE – they include the School of Water and Waste (SWW) at CSE’s Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute and the International Water Security Network (IWSN) at the UWE Department of Geography & Environment Management.
Said Professor Chad Staddon, director of IWSN: “This exciting partnership will bring global expertise in green infrastructure approaches to communities grappling with the economic, ecological and social challenges of sustainable development. Communities around the world need to rediscover nature-based solutions as key to a more sustainable future.”
Said Rohilla: “The thrust areas that have been identified in this collaboration include water-sensitive urban design and planning (WSUDP), green infrastructure (GI), management of urban lakes and water bodies, decentralised wastewater treatment including local reuse, impacts of effluents on local environments, non-sewered sanitation systems and other water-related environmental issues.”
The MoU is aimed at building a global knowledge exchange forum, bringing together academics, researchers, regulators and a community of practitioners for mainstreaming green infrastructure. The two partners also hope to develop new models and tools, as well as employexisting ones, for affordable and sustainable sanitation for all. Emphasis will also be placed on tailor-made demand-driven short courses targeted at the private and public sector, NGOs, professionals, practitioners, state and non-state players, and pollution control boards.
Rohilla said:“The partnership will also work towards developing a Global South Centre for Green Infrastructure – within the School of Water and Waste at CSE -- and offering online courses or short trainings on mutually agreed topics. These could follow the Massive Online Open Coursework (MOOC) model used at UWE to reach out to a global audience.”
CSE and UWE will also explore the possibility of staff and student exchange, summer schools for mutual capacity building, and joint training material development focusing on (re)thinking the off-grid city. Shivali Jainer , Programme Manager, water management, CSE, said: “We will focus on the development of model projects to test the application and validation of off-grid water and sanitation solutions. Both parties will explore opportunities for joint research, workshops, exposure visits, seminars, and conferences, among other potential areas of co-operation, towards training staff for developing state of the art teaching and learning materials and modules, including on Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing.”