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Australia India Water Security Initiative (AIWASI)


AIWASI UPSC: Relevance

  • GS 2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


AIWASI initiative: Context

  • Recently, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Australia for Technical Cooperation for Australia-India Water Security Initiative (AIWASI) has been signed in the area of urban water security.


What is AIWASI?

  • AIWASI meaning: The AIWASI scheme is a India specific component of the South Asia Water Security Initiative (SAWASI) program that focuses on improving access to safe water and sanitation in urban areas in the South Asia region.
  • SAWASI program is being supported by Australia with a commitment of 20 million Australian Dollars.
  • SAWASI aims at strengthening South Asian city-level water governance by
    • supporting governments to provide urban water services and
    • improving water security for disadvantaged communities in India and Pakistan.


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  • The India specific CDP component is known as AIWASI CDP.
  • The goal of the CDP is to improve water security for four disadvantaged communities – two communities each in India and Pakistan by implementing pilot Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) solutions through participatory engagement and joint accountability mechanism.
  • This will elevate community resilience through Water Sensitive Cities (WSC) and GEDSI (Gender Equality, Disability and Social Inclusion) principles.
  • AIWASI CDP also aims at design and implementation of WSUD solutions such as decentralized nature-based sewage, stormwater treatment and reuse systems, community-based rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge systems, among others.


What is water sensitive city?

  • The Water Sensitive City (WSC) approach is identified to address social exclusion dimensions such as water scarcity, unequal distribution and rationing, unequal ownership rights over water systems.
  • It also addresses poor water quality and the absence of sewage collection and treatment systems, large distances to water sources etc in urban (disadvantaged) communities especially in the face of climate change-driven shocks.


Principles of water sensitive city

The Water Sensitive City (WSC) vision is underpinned by three principles:

  • Understanding cities as catchments to provide resources at different scales in fit-for purpose applications.
  • Cities provide ecosystem services to integrate urban water management into the urban landscape, providing multiple benefits such as heat mitigation, ecological health and landscape amenity.
  • Water conscious communities, planning and design professionals work collaboratively deliver water sensitive outcomes.


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What is water sensitive urban design (WSUD)?

  • WSUD is the process of integrating urban planning and design with the management, protection and conservation of the urban water cycle.
  • WSUD ensures that urban water management is sensitive to natural hydrological and ecological processes.


Benefits of WSUD

  • Reduces floods
  • Relieves droughts
  • Natural treatment of wastewater
  • Water affordability
  • Reconnects people with water
  • Supports creation of healthy spaces and biodiversity
  • Participation, engagement and livelihood support
  • Carbon sequestration


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