PAVITRA GANGA aims to create policy and social support for the tested innovative technologies and concepts through a co-creation process in which stakeholders are engaged. This process is at the centre of the work package ‘water governance’. Work package leaders Anshuman (TERI) and Tineke Hooijmans (IHE Delft) explain the approach and the necessity of this stakeholder engagement.
Why is stakeholder engagement important for the project and how do you think the Pavitra Ganga project is being received by the stakeholders? In what way is the project relevant to them?
Anshuman: “In most of our projects we see that scientific investigation and research can only have a real impact if the research and project work is engaging the right stakeholders. Regular stakeholder engagement gives us input and feedback on our activities and makes our work more effective. It also gives the project partners a clear idea of the acceptability of the project’s suggestions in real life. It makes it also easier to prioritize the possible interventions. The stakeholders have been quite supportive of the project and we believe the technological innovations and policy inputs from the project shall be quite useful to them.”
What were your experiences with the first Pavitra Ganga stakeholder workshops in Delhi and Kanpur?
Anshuman: “Our stakeholders’ workshops were very well received and the stakeholders showed not only their interest but also real engagement and commitment. For this project the input of stakeholders is extremely important since our work on water governance is crucial to develop new solutions and innovative technologies on wastewater treatment and resource recovery. The options for policy reform and decision support tools we will provide them, can be helpful to them, provided that we can consult with them during the entire course of the project.”
Tineke Hooijmans: “We were very happy with the experiences and the network that TERI has already built up with their previous activities, especially in New Delhi. This allowed us to have an easy and effective start of the water governance work for Pavitra Ganga.”
What are the advantages of this project being an EU-India collaboration project?
Tineke Hooijmans: “This kind of collaboration between organisations from the two continents is very interesting and relevant. It makes us conscious of the differences between both sides, and it helps the European partners to better understand the local needs and challenges.
One of the most prominent objectives of Pavitra Ganga is that European knowledge is transferred to India and that these solutions are also adapted to the local circumstances and needs. To have all these prominent Indian institutes and partners in our project consortium will facilitate this adaptation process.
There is also an interest in this collaboration for water policy developments in Europe. The challenges that India faces in the coming years are quite similar to those in Europe: both continents have to deal with climate change, more frequent extreme water events and droughts.
Water re-use is also one of the important themes of Pavitra Ganga and gaining new insights and developing new solutions is as relevant to Europe as to India.”
Anshuman: “The biggest benefit of this kind of collaborations is the chance of mutual learning. Learnings on a wide range of innovative technologies, but also learnings from a series of regulatory changes and policy reforms in Europe, like for example the experiences of developing and implementing of the EU Water Framework Directive. The learnings save countries from re-inventing the wheel.
Our project is actually organized to share the best practices from both sides. We have mapped out some of the successful approaches and also efforts that did not work in Europe and India, to define the way forward.”
Read the full interview on the website of pavitra-ganga.