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In-Depth Jobs

Volume-10, 9-15 June, 2018

Career as a Water Science Policy Professional

Rayies Altaf

Water Science Policy
Water is an essential element of life as well as the ecosystem, we live in. Without it, life cannot be imagined on this earth. Freshwater comprises only 2-3% of total amount of water found on this earth. Thus this resource has to be used judiciously. According to UN World Water Report 2018, the global demand for water is increasing at the rate of 1% per year and it will continue to grow in future as well. A major chunk of growth in demand for water will come from developing and emerging economies such as India and China. Global water cycle is getting disrupted due to climate change also. Other factors which have led to increase in water consumption include intensified agriculture and rapid urbanization. The report further states that water pollution has worsened in almost all rivers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. There are new demands on water from rising urbanization and rapidly expanding industrial activities. Water scarcity is a key challenge before the world and its mitigation is pivotal from environmental, economic and social sustainability point of view. As the water crisis deepens, the old solutions appear to be ineffective in tackling this global threat.
The major focus of Goal 6 of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is also about ensuring the availability and proper management of water resources. The World Water Report 2018 states that more than 2 billion people in the world lack access to safe drinking water and more than 4 billion people don't have access to safe sanitation. Thus access to safe drinking water is a challenge which needs effective and immediate redressal.
India too faces an imminent water crisis and it figures among the most water stressed countries in the world. More than a million people in India don't have access to safe drinking water, and majority of others face regular water shortages. Many cities in India are currently also experiencing acute water shortages. According to the official estimates, India which has 18% of world's population, has only 4% of total freshwater resources. More than half of India's rivers are highly polluted whereas others are at levels which are considered unsafe by current global and national standards. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has doubled the number of polluted rivers from 121 to 275 in the last five years. The situation with groundwater is equally alarming with scientific findings showing fast depletion of groundwater especially in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. A very recent NASA study which is published in nature in May 2018 only, has also shown India among the global hotspots where overuse of water resources has caused a serious decline in the availability of freshwater especially in North India. Scientists and environmentalists also predict occurrence of frequent and severe droughts across several states in the coming years. In the midst of all this crisis, there is dearth of qualified professionals needed for bringing effective transformation in governance of India's water sector. Water crisis is going to deepen further in the near future due to rising urbanization, expanding infrastructural projects and climate change, and India will need more and more trained professionals in the field of water policy and water management, to meet the growing challenge of water scarcity. Keeping in view such scenario, special courses on water policy and water management, focusing on both theoretical as well as practical aspects, are offered by various universities and research institutes in India as well as abroad. The aim of such courses is to produce human resource, trained in dealing with water and water related issues, and help formulate as well as implement an effective and efficient water science policy which is based on sound science and rigorous data, thus ensuring sustainable water management pathways.
Water science policy is studied and practiced under the broader framework of science-policy. The science-policy interface is a methodological process, which involves exchange of information between scientists, policy makers, practitioners and sometimes public also, so that scientific findings and data is integrated in policy making. Insights from both natural as well as social sciences is prerequisite for inclusive, holistic and rigorous policies. 'Water Science Policy' by incorporating scientific, social, economic and institutional perspectives, contributes in managing both water quantity as well as quality, thus ensuring that every citizen gets access to safe drinking water, while at the same time ensuring an optimum use of water in agricultural as well as industrial sector.
Water Science Policy professionals can find work opportunities at both policy as well as practice levels in various agencies and bodies, both at Central and State levels (e.g. Central Water Commission, Central Soil and Material Research Station, Central Ground Water Board, Flood Control Commissions, River Boards, National Projects Construction Corporation Limited, Environment Departments, State Agricultural Departments, Public Works Departments (PWDs), Planning Commissions, Urban Development and Housing & Rural Development Sector etc.) Besides they can work in NGOs, international advocacy bodies, think tanks and also as independent researchers.
Following is a list of popular programmes offered by Universities in India as well as some Universities abroad. The list is not exhaustive and may include many more Universities and institutions across the world:
Degree Programmes and Training Courses:
1. Centre for Public Affairs and Critical Theory (CPACT) at Shiv Nadar University offers following multi-disciplinary programmes in Water Science Policy.
M.Sc in Water Science Policy
Ph.D in Science Policy
PG Diploma in Water Science Policy
Certificate course in Water Science Policy
Eligibility: For the M.Sc programme, PG Diploma Programme and the Certificate course, the minimum qualification required is B.Sc/B.A/ B.Tech or any equivalent under-graduate degree. Postgraduate Diploma and Certificate courses are particularly designed for mid-career professionals, administrators, managers and development activists. The University also offers some scholarships in these courses.
For further details visit https:// cpact.snu.edu.in
2. Water Science and Governance offered at TERI University New Delhi
Courses offered:
M.Sc Water Science and Governance (Eligibility: Graduate (B.Sc/B.A) or equivalent from any branch of Engineering, Environmental Science,Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, Chemistry, Geology, Atmospheric Science, Economics, Geography, Zoology, Botany, Anthropology, Agricultural Science.)
M.Tech. Water Resource Engineering and Management (Eligibility: Graduate or equivalent from any branch of Engineering or Postgraduate or equivalent in Environmental Science,Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, Chemistry, Geology, Atmospheric Science, Economics, Geography, Agricultural Science with Mathematics at 10+2 level)
PG Diploma in Water Science and Governance (Eligibility: Graduate (B.Sc/B.A) or equivalent from any branch of Engineering, Environmental Science, Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, Chemistry, Geology, Atmospheric Science, Economics, Geography, Zoology, Botany, Anthropology, Agricultural Science)
Certificate Course in Water Science and Governance (Eligibility: Graduate (B.Sc/B.A) or equivalent from any branch of Engineering, Environmental Science, Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, Chemistry, Geology, Atmospheric Science, Economics, Geography, Zoology, Botany, Anthropology, Agricultural Science.)
Ph.D in Water Science and Governance (Eligibility: M.Sc or M.Phil in a relevant field or equivalent.)For Details visit: www.teriuniversity.ac.in
3. Centre for Water Policy, Regulation and Governance in School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)-Mumbai.
Programmes Offered:
M.A/M.Sc in Water Policy and Governance (Eligibility: Bachelor's Degree of minimum of 3 years duration or its equivalent ( under the 10+2+3 or 10+2+4 or 10+2+2+1 year bridge course pattern of study or any other pattern fulfilling the mandatory requirements of 15 years formal education) from a recognised University, in any discipline)
4. Interdisciplinary Centre for Water Research (ICWaR), Indian Institute of Science (IISC)-Bangalore.
The centre is meant to carryout state-of-art research in water science and technology.
Programmes Offered:
M.Sc. (Engg), Ph.D. and Post-doctoral research (Eligibility Criteria: B.tech, M.Tech and Ph.D  in relevant field)
For more details visit: http:// www.icwar.iisc.ac.in/
5. School of Water Resources at Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
Programes offered:
M.Tech. in Water Engineering and Management and Ph.D.
For details visit: http:// www.iitkgp.ac.in/ department/WM
6. Department of Water Resource Development & Management at Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
Programmes offered:
M.Tech. and Post Graduate Diploma in Water Resource Devlopment (Eligibility: Engineering degree in civil, electrical or mechanical)
M.Tech. Irrigation Water Management (Eligibility: B.Tech in Civil/Agricultural or masters degree in Agricultural Sciences)
Ph.D. Masters/M.Tech degree in a relevant area.
7. Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneshwar
Programmes offered:
M.Tech in Water Resource and Engineering (Eligibility: Min 60% marks in B.E./B.Tech or equivalent Degree in civil/agricultural engineering with a valid GATE score)
For details visit: www.iitbbs.ac.in
Some foreign universities providing popular courses and specializations in Water Science Policy and Management are as follows:
1) M.Sc/MPhil in Water Science, Policy and Management at School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
For details visit: https:// www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/courses/social-sciences/ geography-and-the-environment? wssl=1
2) M.Sc in Water Science and Governance at Kings College London
For details visit: https:// www.kcl.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/taught-courses/water-science-and-governance-msc.aspx
3) M.Sc in Water Science and Management at Utrecht University- Netherlands
For details visit: https:// www.uu.nl/masters/en/water-science-and-management
4) M.S.Programme in Water Science and Policy at University of Delaware-United States.
For details visit: http:// www1.udel.edu/ waterscience policy/courses.html
5) M.Sc. in Sustainable Water Management at Tufts University- Massachusetts, United States
For details visit: http://swm.tufts.edu/
The Author is Science Communicator and Science Policy Researcher based in New Delhi.
Email: raiesaltaf@gmail.com