EU-India to jointly fund 7 research and innovation projects to tackle water challenges

India and the European Union on Thursday decided to jointly invest up to 40 million euros on seven research and innovation projects, including on Ganga rejuvenation, to tackle the urgent water challenges in the country.

The Delegation of the European Union to India and the Indian government's science and technology, and biotechnology departments on Thursday announced the seven projects that have been selected under the EU-India Joint Call on Research and Innovation for Water.

The selected projects will develop new or adapt the most suitable existing innovative and affordable solutions for Indian conditions, both in urban and rural areas, thus providing some key solutions to the urgent water challenges, an EU statement said.

The EU, through its research and innovation programme 'Horizon 2020', and the Indian government will invest a total of up to EUR 40 million (Rs 323 crore) on seven projects, which have an average duration of four years.

The key focus areas of these projects include improving the quality of drinking water, waste water management and real-time monitoring and control systems.

In total, 130 entities will be part of these seven projects, ranging from universities, research labs, private sector and municipalities.

Those participating in the projects will include prestigious institutions such as IIT-Bombay, IIT-Guwahati, IIT-Bhubaneswar, IIT-Roorkee, IIT-Delhi, CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) and TERI.

Besides supporting India's Ganga Rejuvenation initiative, the projects will also support transfer of European technologies to India, which would require them to be tested, demonstrated, and customised to suit Indian needs at an affordable cost, the statement said.

The cooperation will also lead to increased scientific excellence while ensuring that at the end of the project, the technology can be deployed and be of benefit to the entire Indian population, it said.

"Many of these water challenges are common to India and the EU. India and Europe have, in the past, collaborated intensively on water, enriching each other's technological and scientific knowledge and management capacities to cope with stress on water resources," said Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the European Union to India.

"The selected research and innovation projects aim at further addressing these key water issues together with India and in doing so, will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals to which both Europe and India are committed," he said.

India-H20 -- bio-mimetic and phyto-technologies designed for low-cost purification and recycling of water, LOTUS -- low-cost innovative technology for water quality monitoring and water resources management for urban and rural water systems in India, and PANI WATER -- Photo-irradiation and adsorption based novel innovations for water-treatment, are among the projects selected.

PAVITR-- potential and validation of sustainable natural and advance technologies for water and waste water treatment, monitoring and safe water reuse in India, and PAVITRA GANGA -- unlocking waste water treatment, water re-use and resource recovery opportunities for urban and peri-urban areas in India are among the seven projects.

The other two projects are SAEASWATI 2.0 -- Identifying best available technologies for decentralized wastewater treatment and resource recovery for India, and SPRING -- Strategic planning for water resources and implementation of novel biotechnical treatment solutions and good practices.