Delhi, Monday, 25th November 2019: Western Sydney University has forged a new partnership agreement with the Jal Shakti (Water) Ministry to extend the reach of the highly-successful MARVI approach for participatory groundwater management throughout India.
The MARVI system (Managing Aquifer Recharge and Sustaining Groundwater Use through Village-level Intervention) approach is focussed on engaging village communities to monitor, use and manage groundwater at the village level. As a part of MARVI project, a smartphone app, called MyWell, was developed to enable collection and sharing of monitored data of well water levels, rainfall, water quality and dam water levels to help local communities to better manage scarce groundwater reserves.
Australia’s Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP joined Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO, to sign the new agreement.
MARVI has successfully engaged networks of farmers, local communities, government agencies and policymakers to monitor groundwater levels and quality, providing a decentralised database of water availability that has helped to dramatically improve management of increasingly scarce groundwater reserves.
Developed by Western Sydney University researchers and multiple partner organisations in Australia and India, MARVI’s success is based on engagement of local “groundwater-informed” volunteers termed Bhujal Jankaars (BJs). With the appropriate training, BJs monitor groundwater and support local communities to actively monitor groundwater in wells and dams to input data onto the app and share this information with other local farmers and government offices.
“MARVI is built with the knowledge that a collaborative and co-designed approach to empowering localised water management is the most sustainable and enduring model for managing India’s precious water reserves,” said Professor Basant Maheshwari, lead researcher in the MARVI program.
Professor Barney Glover said: “With many parts of India running perilously short of water in heat and drought conditions, we have to build on the expertise of local communities, supported by clever engagement and innovation.”
Australia’s Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, travelled to India to sign the agreement along with Mr Gajendra Singh Shekhawat from the Water Ministry of India, and the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
About Western Sydney University
Western Sydney University prides itself on challenging the traditional notion of what a university should be. We put students at the heart of everything we do and we are deeply embedded in the community and region we serve – Greater Western Sydney – which is Australia’s fastest growing economy and the focus of the nation’s largest infrastructure projects.
We have a network of sites across Greater Western Sydney and beyond – including 10 teaching campuses, many embedded in CBD locations. Celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2019, Western Sydney University has grown to more than 48,000 students, 3,000 staff, and a strong cohort – both locally and globally – of close to 200,000 alumni.
Recent rankings have shown bosses rate our graduates number one in NSW and second in Australia for overall employer satisfaction, and the University is in the top two per cent of universities in the world according to the highly-influential Times Higher Education World University Rankings.