A new book shows why and how emerging scientific knowledge and new technologies can support sustainable management and use of freshwater resources, aimed at water professionals and practitioners in India. It is a result of recent research collaborations between scientists in India and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH).

As a society, we are undergoing a number of interconnected changes, from burgeoning populations and rising standards of living, to widespread urbanisation and rapid environmental degradation, all under a changing climate. Together, these changes are having significant impacts on our freshwater systems. Rapid innovation is needed to adapt our water management practices and technologies in order to meet water requirements while maintaining and, where needed, restoring, the ecosystems that provide us with life sustaining services, so that the resource is also protected for the future.

The book - Emerging Science for Sustainable Water Resources Management - is written for practitioners and has been designed to be accessible to all, regardless of expertise. This includes water professionals who set the agenda for and manage water operations, as well as training providers, NGOs and students. The book combines current scientific understanding with cases studies of application in the real world.

It is structured around the different interconnected water challenges and is intended to provide an introduction to what new science is out there, where it can contribute to sustainable water resources management, and what the next critical science gaps are that need to be filled.

Prof Harry Dixon, Hydrologist at UKCEH and co-editor of the book, said: “The UK and India have a long-history of scientific collaboration, particularly around water science. The science outlined in this book has been developed through long-term partnerships between UKCEH and a number of Indian organisations, bringing together complementary skills to push forward our ability to understand, monitor and manage freshwater environments.”

Dr Sunita Sarkar, Senior Science Project Manager and co-editor of the book, added: “Around the world our river basins are facing increasing pressures as a result of growing water demands and a changing climate. To sustainably manage these environments we need new scientific approaches that must be developed through co-design and co-development of future projects between researchers and practitioners working across international boundaries to share knowledge.”

While the research presented was conducted in an Indian context, the scientific developments and potential solutions outlined are applicable to other parts of the world facing similar water challenges.

Emerging Science for Sustainable Water Resources Management is edited by Dr Sunita Sarkar and Prof Harry Dixon of the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and is available to download here.

The scientific developments outlined in the book are largely the result of Indo-UK research collaborations supported through the SUNRISE (Sustainable Use of Natural Resources to Improve Human Health and Support Economic Development) programme. SUNRISE was funded by UK Research and Innovation’s Natural Environment Research Council (UKRI/NERC).