STARTING NEXT academic year, the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) will roll out the country’s first integrated post graduate course in water management and sanitation.
The varsity signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) with UNESCO IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Netherlands, and Unity Knowledge in this regard on Monday.
Having specialised in water management, the IHE has not only taken a lead role in designing the course syllabi, its faculty will also teach modules during the course, which will be run by the Department of Environment Science.
According to SPPU officials, in addition to the regular two-year post graduation courses, short module-based online courses are also available. Faecal Sludge Management will be the first online course to be rolled out, student registrations for which will start from the second week of November, they added.
Dr Nitin Karmalkar, vice-chancellor of SPPU, said, “With urban flooding, caused by poor storm water management, erratic monsoon and improper water distribution, becoming major issues, this course is aimed at having better planners and policy makers, thereby strengthening manpower working in this area.”
To begin with, an MSc degree programme in Integrated Urban Water Management, with an intake of 30 students, will commence in 2018. Science and engineering graduates, across streams, are eligible to apply. Some of the major topics to be covered under the course are — chemical compositions of both surface and groundwater, rainfall and climate change, water quality and distribution system. M Tech courses in the subject will be launched after the approval from the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE).
According to Dr Eddy Moors, deputy head, Environmental Engineering and Water Technologies, the collaboration is a beginning of improving water management in India. Moors said, “Though we have worked with other Indian universities on various projects, this is the first time a course of this scale has been designed. We are also hopeful of setting up an institute dedicated to water management and sanitation.”
The varsity officials have a string of meetings with water resources departments, both at the state and union government levels in the coming days, following which a decision will be taken on setting up the institute. Karmalkar said, “The institute will be set up at SPPU and is being aimed at becoming a world-class institute in this field of water management.”
According to Anagha Pathak, founder director of Unity Knowledge, there are many problems related to water and its management, be it with regard to drinking or usage. “Along with investing in health and hygiene, the move will help address many water-related woes,” he added.