Namami Ganga – Water as Leverage Training: Workshop creates common understanding

Namami Ganga – Water as Leverage Training

On 17 and 18 October 2022, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and the Government of the Netherlands held the ‘Namami Ganga – Water as Leverage’ Training Workshop in New Delhi. The Workshop was received with great enthusiasm and interest for Water as Leverage and concepts like co-creation and nature-based solutions to be adopted in the Ganga Basin.

The workshop was aimed at generating a common understanding of the Water as Leverage approach and at mutual learning and jointly exploring how Water as Leverage can be of value for NMCG. The workshop included various components including presentations from both sides, interactive discussions, working on Indian case studies, and Q&A sessions. It was held under the Indo-Dutch Strategic Water Partnership signed with Ministry of Jal Shakti (GoI) and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management in March earlier this year.

NMCG was represented by Mr D.P. Mathuria, Executive Director (Technical), Mr S.P. Vashishth, Executive Director (Administration) and Mr Brijesh Sikka (Senior Consultant). NMCG had invited participants from its subsidiary bodies and associated stakeholders to bring together different perspectives on ‘water challenges’. NMCG had also invited participants from the Govt. of Kerala (Irrigation Dept.) and Govt. of West Bengal (Irrigation Department) that are also part of the bilateral water cooperation at state level.

Water as Leverage (WaL) recognises that a results-driven, holistic and inclusive project preparation approach is the only way to kick-start and scale sustainable urban solutions that are supported by decision-makers locally and nationally, have long-term and sustainable impact, deliver SDGs, and are bankable.

The City of Chennai and the Dutch Government have collaborated on ‘Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities Asia’ (supported by the UN/World Bank) since 2018 to tackle urban water-related challenges in an innovative and inclusive way. The experiences from Water as Leverage interventions in Chennai were presented to the participants in this workshop. The trainers also shared the vision and flagship programmes that were developed under the WaL Chennai showcasing the Water Balance demonstration project of the City of 1000 Tanks. During a round table session at the workshop, groups of participants with varied backgrounds were asked to apply the Water as Leverage approach to four Indian case studies. The workshop foregrounded the ’design’ aspect which is necessary for innovation. The workshop simulated a WaL collaboration with participants, making local knowledge explicit and applying international expert knowledge. The participants jointly identified opportunities for solutions in each case. Workshop participants presented their ideas on how to sensitise ‘water’ through community participation, technical support, ways to arrange relevant activities and more. The closing ceremony was chaired by Mr Asok Kumar, DG-NMCG and the Deputy Head of Mission, Netherlands Embassy in India, Mr Huib Mijnarends. The closing ceremony also thanked the two main people driving the workshop preparations on the ground, Ms Nishi Pant (Sector Lead – Water) of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in India, and Ms Kritika Kaushik (Project Officer – Technical) of NMCG, whose contributions were much appreciated.

One of the next steps is to draft an Action Plan for selecting key cities for potential pilots in the Ganga Basin, where the Water as Leverage innovative approach can be applied.

Research done in preparation of this workshop: Water as Leverage - Namami Clean Ganga_Deltares_OOZE_report_s.pdf