The India UK Water Centre webinar on two pump priming projects that it convened in the Indian Sundarbans, in response to the considerable water resources challenges that the people living on these islands face on a day to day basis, was successfully held on 4th February 2020. Despite having speakers and audience members in both the UK and India, the presentations and questions and answers session went smoothly with only a few technical issues. If you were unable to join the webinar, please click here to access the video.
The webinar was attended by 113 people, with 83 online and 30 hosted at the National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee. The latter included scientists from NIH, department members from IIT Roorkee’s Civil Engineering, Hydrology, Earth Sciences and Water Resources Development and Management, as well the India-based leads of both projects.
The two projects presented the key results from their pilot studies and suggested next steps. Following a short introduction to the India UK Water Centre by the UK-based Coordinator Professor Harry Dixon, Dr Gopal Krishan (NIH, Roorkee), took over and presented on behalf of the rest of the team that comprised of Dr Purnabha Dasgupta (PRASARI, India), and Dr Andrew McKenzie (BGS, UK) on 'Improving our understanding of the aquifer systems in Sundarbans'. They examined the rapidly degrading aquifer system, which has increasingly become a source of water on the island especially in the dry months. They have built on work by PRASARI, with the aim to understand the practicality of artificial aquifer recharge, and in particular the injection of freshwater into saline aquifers during the monsoons for recovering in the dry season. The second presentation on 'The influence of the monsoon on freshwater availability for agriculture in Sundarbans under current and climate change conditions' was given by the two project leads, Professor Lalu Das (Bidhan Chandra Krishi Vidyalaya, India) and Dr Alexandre Gagnon (Liverpool John Moores University, UK). They examined changes in freshwater availability in recent decades and their future projections under climate change. The modelling results were then examined in light of the input from the community on their current adaptations to water scarcity to better understand the impacts of changing water availability on people's livelihoods and to identify research and knowledge to action gaps.
Audience members were given an opportunity to raise their questions through the webinar platform, or in person in NIH, following each presentation, as well as during a dedicated question period at the end.
The water briefs from these projects can also be downloaded here