Water Science – Interface with Policy and Governance

Name of the Speaker: Dr. P. Somasekhar Rao

Title of the Seminar: Water Science – Interface with Policy and Governance

Date and Time: 29th September 2020 (Tuesday), 4:00 PM

Online platform: MS Teams [link to  the video of the seminar]

About the speaker: Dr. P. Somasekhar Rao is a Doctoral degree holder (Ph.D) in Earth Sciences and has 30 years of working experience in land and water sector having worked with The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Directorate General of International Cooperation, Government of The Netherlands, Asian Development Bank, Government of India and NGOs. Currently working at Government of Karnataka for the past 5 years as Director (Technical) in Water Resources Department. He had partnered with International institutes, National and State Government Departments, Academic Universities, NGOs and Donor Agencies with focus on water and agriculture. Dr. P.S. Rao also has a Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, New Delhi. Dr. Rao worked in China, Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Thailand and Bhutan and travelled widely around the world representing India’s case in a number of international for a such as World Water Forums and a number of Inter-governmental conferences and facilitated participation of farmers in various international meetings and exchange visits with other country farmers. Dr. Rao introduced Modernization of Irrigation Management concepts and methodology in India and enabled setting-up the Advanced Centre for Integrated Water Resources Management (ACIWRM) in Karnataka State and designing an IWRM program in Karnataka to move towards River Basin Management. Dr. Rao was key in developing a new draft State Water Policy for Karnataka and setting up Karnataka Water Resources Information System. Dr. Rao pioneered the concept of Participatory Groundwater Management and developed Farmer Water Schools for groundwater management drawing from the experiences of Farmer Field Schools in Asia. Dr. Rao also supported evolving the Farmer Climate Schools engaging farmers with climate variability issues. Dr. Rao has several scientific and popular articles, technical reports to his credit and majorly brought out two important books on India’s Water Resources and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Abstract: Science influences society through its knowledge and world view. Scientific knowledge influence the way many individuals in society think about themselves, others, and the environment. Societal challenges often inspire questions for scientific research, and social priorities often influence research priorities through the availability of funding for research. Water is emerging the most essential focus to the future development and economic growth of any region / society. There has been a steady increase in the demand for water use from different sectors such as domestic users – urban and rural, economic sectors – agriculture & allied sectors, services and industry apart from environmental flow requirements. This needs a paradigm shift in planning investments and management of water resources. For effective and sustainable water resources management, several policies have been made in the past – both nationally and at state level, and some are being made and various departments or agencies in the government are assigned with the responsibility of implementing these policies. Some laws are also enacted to implement the policy. The whole gamut of these actions is the governance of water resources. Government of Karnataka committed to create an enabling environment towards achieving water and food security adopting the IWRM principles and approach and had setup a new entity ACIWRM which acts as a think tank to the state Water Resources Department, engaging in policy analysis, research, planning, capacity building and develop the knowledge base to gear up the department to its future vision. How was the water science knowledge harvested for evolving new water policy and what partnerships between government and scientific institutions are playing the major role in bringing in a paradigm shift in perspectives of water resources management.

Date(s) - 29/09/2020
4:00 pm

Interdisciplinary Centre for Water Research (ICWaR) - IISc Bangalore