Marking the Target: IUKWC survey results for developing first User Engagement Initiative

In May 2017, IUKWC launched an online poll to identify the priorities of members of its Open Network on stakeholder engagement in the Indian water sector. A thorough analysis of the votes and comments highlighted the urgent need of engaging with the regional level water policy and management bodies. Stakeholders at regional scale connect policy makers with implementers and regulators; they are responsible for identification and interpretation of available scientific knowledge (hydro-climatic services), recognizing its utility and facilitate its dissemination at local level while ensuring adherence to legal and policy devices.

Competing against the stakeholder categories of ‘private sector water organizations’ and ‘local water users’, the regional-level category bagged more than 50% of the total votes.The need to depart from use of dated technologies and generate awareness on latest science and technological applications at a regional scale was identified; however a high potential for uptake of outputs of water science was acknowledged. Lack of proper infrastructure, communication between associated functional - operational bodies and ground level stakeholders were recognised as major limitations in effective functioning of these bodies.

IUKWC, under its User Engagement Initiative (UEI) programme plans to host an event dedicated solely to engage with the selected stakeholder category. We questioned the members on a probable IUKWC theme around which such an event could be planned and ‘Improving freshwater monitoring frameworks and data for research and management’ was found to be the most popular choice. Awareness on latest water quality monitoring techniques combined with improved data availability both at remote and in-situ scale was recognised as the most pressing need. The members recognized the most efficient means for efficient dissemination of scientific outputs as structured sessions providing hands on experience and exposure to latest technology in freshwater monitoring.

The outcome of the survey and the focus of the initiative is found to align well with our recent workshop on ‘Enhancing freshwater Monitoring through Earth Observation’, the UEI is currently being planned and we hope to host it in November this year. We would like to thank our open network members for participating in the survey and providing their feedback.

Keep visiting our website for further updates on the UEI and other upcoming events.