Water Journal : Water Journal April 2015
water APRIL 2015 32 awa News AUSTRALIAN WATER EXPERTISE ON SHOW IN INDIA In January 2015, the AWA and Austrade Exhibition presented Australian water capability at India Water Week. Geoff Gray, AWA National Manager – Industry Development, provides a summary. AWA, in partnership with Austrade, presented an exhibition of Australian water capability at India Water Week in January 2015, as part of the overall Australian Business Week in India program, which was led by the Minister for Trade, the Hon. Andrew Robb AO. The 450-strong delegation sought to understand India’s strengths and explore partnerships with local companies to develop solutions that will meet the needs of India. A stream in the overall Australian Business Week in India program focused on water and wastewater issues, with 45 water sector representatives from Australia participating in the Business Week Conference and attending India Water Week from 14–16 January. A number of the Australian delegates undertook a program of meetings in Mumbai on the last day, while others visited Indian states where they have special relationships. The NSW premier Mike Baird and a delegation from New South Wales visited Maharashtra, one of India’s largest and most populous states. NSW Government has an office in Mumbai and enjoys a ‘sister state’ relationship. Representatives from South Australia meanwhile visited Rajasthan to discuss future plans for their state/state relationship. Before Australian Business Week commenced in Delhi, the Trade Minister the Hon. Andrew Robb, the NSW Premier, Mike Baird, together with a high-level Australian delegation, attended the Gujarat conference hosted by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was able to showcase his home state as a development model for all of India. During the Gujarat visit Minister Robb met with Prime Minister Modi and there was further discussion on the proposed free trade agreement between India and Australia. Both sides are keen to fast-track an agreement for signing within a year. The opening of the Indian market will offer attractive opportunities for interested parties in the Australian water sector, as many products and technologies currently face a tariff barrier of more than 30 per cent on water infrastructure items. IndIa Water Week Australia was the partner country at India Water Week – a relatively new water conference and exhibition organised by the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. The Union Minister, Uma Bharti, opened the conference and exhibition and spent time at the Australian exhibit. Australian water experts presented a range of scientific papers at the conference. The exhibition showcased a range of Australian expertise with a focus on hydrology and waste treatment. The 15 exhibitors had the opportunity to meet the many visitors who attended the exhibition and discuss business opportunities. A number of deals were signed during the exhibition, agents appointed and market research undertaken. As millions move from rural areas to the cities and into the middle class, key challenges for a developing India are adeqate supplies of urban water and the disposal of an increasing volume of wastewater, both from the urbanisation and industrialisation that are taking place. The rejuvenation of the Ganga River, the life blood of India, is the number one water development challenge and the pet project of Prime Minister Modi. The Indian officials were keen to hear about Australia’s river basin management, water reform journey and cost- effective waste treatment. In particular, there was considerable interest from Indian paper and pulp plants and distillers located along the Ganga River, as the Modi Government decreed that 750 businesses should have to meet zero liquid discharge requirements by March 2015, which wasa very ambitious target. Fast-groWIng economy The Indian economy has been one of the world’s fastest growing economies over the last two years, with a growth rate in excess of seven per cent a year. This growth has been driven by new high- technology industries and improved efficiencies. Delhi now has a population of 24 million, larger than Australia’s total population, and other cites are growing rapidly. It’s estimated there are now some 600 million people considered as middle class and, for the most part, the days of starvation, widespread poverty and diseases such as polio are over. While India is still a long way behind China as a world-class economy, it is rapidly catching up. One difference is that India has not relied on growth from manufactured exports but, rather, enjoys higher-paying jobs in the high-tech and service sectors. You can drive for 50kms south of Delhi and see new offices, hotels and housing complexes all along the four-lane highway. Signs advertising Google, Deloitte and Apple are common. Unfortunately this rapid development has come at a great cost to the environment. It is claimed that Delhi now has the most unhealthy air quality in the world, and I have to admit during my week there I didn’t once see the sun or clear sky. This was due in part to the fog that hangs around in winter in Delhi, mixed with toxic fumes from transport and industry. tacklIng pollutIon challenges All this rapid growth is straining the 100-year-old British-built Delhi sewerage system and water supply. During the wet season, stormwater flows into the system, causing major flooding of waste onto the Delhi streets. Sewage overflow is a common problem now in many Indian cities. The Ganga (the River Ganges) is the epitome of water pollution in India. More than two-thirds of the sewage generated in 118 towns located along the river basin is discharged into the river untreated. The towns collectively generate 3,636 million litres per day of sewage. international The Australian Stand at India Water Week.
Water Journal February 2015
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