IIT Madras establishes inter-disciplinary water management and policy centre

IIT Madras establishes inter-disciplinary water management and policy centre

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras is establishing a new interdisciplinary water management and policy centre called ‘AquaMAP’ to solve water problems in India.

This centre will provide smart solutions for challenging water problems by designing scalable models by leveraging innovative technologies. These models would be implemented at chosen locations across the country, as a proof of concept.

Parasuram Balasubramanian, CEO, Theme Work Analytics, and Krishnan Narayanan, president, itihaasa Research and Digital, both IIT Madras alumni, have supported this initiative in the form of a seed grant commitment of Rs 3 crore for two years and help in crafting the five-year plan.

Thanking the alumni for their support to socially-relevant projects, Mahesh Panchagnula, dean (alumni and corporate relations), IIT Madras, said, “I am thankful to our alumni, Parasuram Balasubramanian and Krishnan Narayanan who have given their time, treasure and talent and helped shape this initiative on water management, a topic of immense national importance. This initiative is also special because we have conceived a unique alumni-engagement model to support the professors at AquaMAP.”

The key outcomes envisaged from AquaMAP in the medium/long-term include:

  • Capability to address complex real-life water problems through consortia approach.
  • Gets established as an entity, which can deliver solutions having wide impact and application.
  • Complete successful pilot studies in at least six water innovation villages / towns, that can be showcased as replicable models for water management and policy implementation, within the country.
  • Address at least three chronic water issues through grand challenges and their successful translation into pilot projects.
  • Set up a state-of-the-art Hydro-Informatics Laboratory.
  • Firmly established alumni and community engagement model.

Speaking about this project, Balasubramanian, said, “A majority of India’s water issues require astute and effective management practices for their solution. We can learn a lot from setting up water innovation villages/towns and running water-themed grand challenges. I hope that AquaMAP proves to be a demonstrated model of success through the collaborative working of community, industry, academia, and technology professionals.”

Adding to that, Narayanan said, “I am glad that I could leverage my water-startup experience in India in shaping the vision of AquaMAP. Since we have made alumni-engagement central to this initiative, other alumni with expertise in the water domain can now apply to become a fellow, entrepreneur-in-residence, project grand masters, or volunteers at AquaMAP.”

Ligy Philip, department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras, and dean (planning), IIT Madras, is the principal investigator of AquaMAP. She will be supported by another 20 faculty members working on water-related issues and drawn from diverse departments such as Civil Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Management and Humanities and Social Sciences. AquaMap has a governing body chaired by V Kamakoti, director of IIT Madras, and an advisory board with many eminent and well established people in the area of water technology, management and policy.