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International Symposium on Water Sustainability held on the occasion of World Water Day 2022

April 12, 2022 - 11:19
International Symposium on Water Sustainability held on the occasion of World Water Day 2022

On the occasion of UN World Water Day 2022, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation & Development and School for Sustainable Futures jointly organised an International Symposium on Water Sustainability: Challenges, Technologies & Opportunities (IWSS 2022). The symposium explored challenges and opportunities as well as scientific and practical outcomes in designing, developing, and deploying interventions, tools, and techniques for community-empowered water sustainability initiatives. The symposium was held as an online event from March 22 – 24 from 4 PM to 9 PM IST.

Guided by Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s Chancellor, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Amma’s vision to combat the scenario centred around water access and availability, the symposium helped to reimagine the conversations towards ensuring water sustainability through various interventions by adopting path-breaking technologies, policies, and procedures. The symposium, spanning 3 days, showcased renowned speakers presenting addresses and deliberations in the areas related to water sustainability. The various sessions unveiled technological and governance strategies, approaches, and interventions related to water conservation and sustainability at large.

The symposium revolved around the following 6 key themes:

  • Challenges in the urbanising world: clean water availability, access, challenges & solutions
  • Scalable Smart water solutions: AI, IoT, remote sensing, citizen science & wireless sensors
  • Affordable water treatment technologies: circular economy & decentralised systems
  • Water Sustainability: climate change adaptation & mitigation
  • Water Sustainability: Water policy and governance, Capacity building, community adaptations & case studies
  • Groundwater: challenges and opportunities for sustainable management

The inaugural ceremony on 22 March was graced by Chief Guest of Honour, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, Honourable Minister of State for Jal Shakti. He highlighted the various initiatives at the national level taken up under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi including the Jal Jeevan Mission. Along with this, he spoke about the magnitude of water scarcity from a national perspective and ways to combat it. He also highlighted the importance of desalination of water and various technological initiatives that need to be adopted from this perspective. The minister interacted with the Chancellor and said that water sustainability is a collective responsibility that has to be taken up by every individual in the society. He urged the citizens to adopt a futuristic approach and take a vow that each individual will conserve more water than they consume. The honourable minister lauded Amrita University’s work in the area of water sustainability and thanked the Chancellor for her visionary initiatives.

Speaking on the occasion, Chancellor, Sri Mata Amritananadamayi Devi, Amma said that if we do not take steps to ensure water access and availability to all, a third world war for clean water is not too far away. She also spoke at length about the extent of water pollution and its ripple effects on all living beings. Mother nature has lost its balance and contamination is becoming prominent. The water coming back to earth in the form of rain is not percolating into the ground thereby causing groundwater scarcity. The ocean water is also being polluted because of fuel emissions by boats and this is drastically affecting marine life. Countries like Finland have taken great strides in ensuring that fuel emissions do not seep into the ocean water through technological innovation. She also said that as contamination of water is on a rise, the PH level of ocean water and acidification is on the higher side which may even lead to cancer. She stressed that we need more research projects directed in this regard to lower the impact of ever-increasing pollution. Amma also expressed Her happiness over various initiatives taken at the national level in this regard. Amma also said that it is very important for us to delve deeper into various interventions from a technology and governance standpoint.

At the valedictory ceremony on Day 3, a new joint initiative “Mera Gaav, Hamara Jal ” which translates to “My Village, Our Water” was launched in collaboration with ESRI India. This program aims to transform the attitudes of community members to view water as a personal resource rather than as a community resource. The program was jointly launched by Mr. Agendra Kumar, Managing Director, ESRI India and Dr. P. Venkat Rangan, Vice Chancellor, Amrita Vishwa Vidya Peetham. Dr. Maneesha V Ramesh, Provost & UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation and Development and Dr. Bipin Nair, Dean, Life Sciences, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham also joined the occasion.

Dr. Maneesha V Ramesh, UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation and Development and Provost, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham expressed her happiness over the launch of the program and provided a demonstration of the dashboard which helps to capture information regarding the water resources mapped at the village level. The interactive dashboard provides information on water sources based on location and individual household level. Dr. Ramesh also provided a summary of the symposium covering the key highlights by touching upon the areas related to water sustainability that were deliberated during the keynote sessions and panel discussions.

The valedictory ceremony also showcased various initiatives launched by the Amrita Live-in-Labs® program on the occasion of World Water Day. This includes the Water Day pledge by children in various communities across India to spread awareness and take initiatives that are directed towards water conservation. Painting competitions were also held in 25 communities to bring out the thought process of how children perceived water access and availability in their locality. The insights from the paintings will help to develop design requirements for the framework to build solutions aimed to ensure water sustainability for different communities. Prizes were awarded to 2 children who did exceptionally well in the competition.

The 3 day symposium featured 26 speakers from 9 countries with expertise in multiple areas related to water sustainability, environment, and sustainable development. The key institutions that participated are King’s College London, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, European Regional Centre For Ecohydrology PAS, Delft University of Technology, Department of Science & Technology (DIST), ESRI India, etc. In addition to keynote addresses by the leading experts, the symposium also provided a platform for a panel discussion to ideate and brainstorm on areas related to water sustainability which will help us in transforming it towards a community-centric approach.

Water Sustainability is a key priority globally and resolving the challenges in the area of water and sanitation will create a ripple effect across various SDGs along with playing a vital role in creating a sustainable future for all. The symposium hopes to pave the way forward in taking collective efforts in ensuring sustainable access to water by bringing in experts from academia, industry, government, and non-government organisations. To know more about the symposium and register, visit

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