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India: Reliable research data to help water management in cities


Photo: Curtesy by Karsten Høgh, Professor, University of Copenhagen

In India, Danida supported research has helped establish contact with local universities and provide reliable data for the strategic sector cooperation on water management in cities. The citizen science component of the research adds important insights and strengthens local ownership.

By Sector Counsellor Anitha Kumari Sharma, the Danish Embassy in India

The strategic sector cooperation between Denmark and India on sustainable Urban water management in cities is a city-to-city collaboration between the cities of Aarhus in Denmark and Udaipur in India. The main objective of the cooperation is to promote sustainable urban water management, including enhanced liveability, improved water quality, improved drinking water services, water-use efficiency, and enhanced integrated water management.

In the strategic sector cooperation, we identified a need for focused efforts on integrated water resource assessment and we were fortunate that a Danida funded project was selected for funding with a focus on exactly this. The research project that is ongoing from 2020 to 2023 is led by Professor Karsten Høgh Jensen from the University of Copenhagen and, in collaboration with partners in India, it provides the necessary data and models to support the work of the sector cooperation. The local universities help in the capacity building of the local public authorities in the area of integrated water resource management. We help the researchers in identifying the needs of the local public authorities and in developing the required knowledge that can be directly implemented by the public authorities. Our collaboration with researchers is win-win.

Read what the sector counsellors in Bangladesh, Ghana and South Africa say

The research project has a citizen science component that involves ordinary citizens in collecting data. This component has a positive effect in terms of local awareness, commitment and ownership. Our collaboration with the research project has thereby contributed to a quadruple helix model, where academia, technology, policy and citizens work together to implement sustainable water management in the city of Udaipur.

There are many sustainable solutions around the world, also in Denmark. Most of these solutions have been developed in the course of many years and are specific to the local context. If the solutions are to be implemented in other contexts, research is one of the fundamental pillars for understanding that context and localizing sustainable solutions. This is very important, especially in the case of sustainable urban water management solutions. The infrastructure that is being implemented today will be there for the next 50-100 years, and therefore decisions on what to implement have to be based on sound scientific knowledge. This requires that scientists work together closely across borders, understand the context, and generate the required local knowledge and capacity to take the agenda forward.

Find more information about Danida supported research on integrated water management resources in India in the Danida Research Portal:


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