Special Correspondent

MoU marks start of Rs 2.4 crore international project It will facilitate exchange of staff and students among partner institutions and field-level research projects

CHENNAI: A memorandum of understanding was signed between Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and the Centre for Water Resources, Anna University, here on Wednesday on, "Regional capacity building on integrated water resources management and gender and water in South Asia."

Peter P. Mollinga, Task Manager, Irrigation Water Engineering Group, and K. Karunakaran, Director, Centre for Water Resources, signed the agreement.

Mr. Karunakaran said the memorandum marked the beginning of an Rs 2.4 crore international project, sponsored by the Netherlands Government, over five years. The programme aimed at collaboration with five institutes in South Asia. The other institutes are IRMA, Anand, Gujarat; Post Graduate Institute of Agriculture University, Peradiniya University, Sri Lanka; Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies and Institute of Water and Flood Management; and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka.

The South Asian Consortium for Inter-disciplinary Water Resources Studies, Hyderabad, would coordinate with the institutes.

Under the programme, a postgraduate degree would be offered in integrated water management for the civil and agricultural engineers and fellowships will be granted to PG students and M.S (research) and Ph.D. scholars.

It would also facilitate exchange of staff and students among partner institutions and field-level research projects.

Mr. Mollinga, in his address, said the mindset of water managers and users must undergo a change and a new method devised considering the environment and the future.

It was high time water professionals changed their approach. The challenge before them was the integration of ecological sustainability, participatory management by water users and poverty alleviation with emphasis on gender equity in water management.

The programme would try to find out innovative ways of management and provide opportunities to leaders to exhibit their talent.

Anna University Vice-Chancellor D. Viswanathan said many foreign universities wanted to collaborate with the university and it was up to the Heads of Departments to take the initiative.