A research project into the impact of rainwater harvesting in India on groundwater quality led by Dr Alison Parker from Cranfield University and Dr Anupma Sharma from the National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee, India is among a number of projects to be delivered within the UK-India Water Quality programme.

UK Science Minister Jo Johnson and Indian Minister of State for Science and Technology Y S Chowdary recently announced a number of UK-India joint research projects including the Cranfield University/National Institute of Hydrology project.

The India-UK Water Quality programme aims to support policymakers, water managers, business and local communities to improve India’s water quality.

The research project will combine fieldwork, laboratory testing and modelling simulations. The findings from the research will be used to generate recommendations on how rainwater harvesting can be used to reduce fluoride contamination of groundwater.

Dr Alison Parker, Lecturer in International Water and Sanitation at Cranfield University, said: “Groundwater is still the main source of fresh water in many parts of the world. This includes Rajasthan in Western India where rainwater harvesting is being used to replenish groundwater and provide a safe reliable water supply.”

Dr Anupma Sharma, from the National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee, said: “We hope our research and recommendations will lead to policymakers, water managers, business and local communities making informed evidence-based decisions that can generate a safer water supply for all.”

Commenting on the announcement of the joint UK-India research projects Y S Chowdary, Indian Minister of State for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, said: “India is exponentially growing its science capability and using science and technology to transform society. Our collaboration with the UK shows how partnerships of the highest quality can help both countries advance, as well as have a global positive impact for sustainable development.”

Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive Designate of UK Research and Innovation added: “The UK and India are working together to deliver world-class research. These new collaborative projects will strengthen bonds between our research communities and deepen our collective understanding across a range of fields: from energy and water to medicine and physics. Creating opportunities for the UK to collaborate with the best scientists from around the world is a core focus of UK Research and Innovation.”

The announcement comes a year after the vision for the India-UK Strategic Partnership was made by both the UK and Indian Prime Ministers.

Notes for editors

About Cranfield University

Cranfield is an exclusively postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

Cranfield has over 40 years’ experience in the sector and we are recognised internationally for our work in the science, engineering and management of water.

We work in all aspects of water – whether it is helping to ensure safe, clean supplies for domestic consumption, assessing agricultural needs for food production, protecting and enhancing natural habitats or improving process engineering for manufacturing and industry.

We have strategic partnerships with the Department for the Environment, Yorkshire Water, Severn Trent Water and Anglian Water.

Our activities are underpinned by world-class facilities, including a pilot-plant hall at the University’s own sewage treatment works, state-of-the-art soil and water laboratories, a grey water treatment pilot area, a managed borehole drilling site and soil and irrigation testing facilities.

We are a founding member of Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP); it is estimated that, to date, it has helped provide over one million people with clean drinking water, and some 400,000 with improved sanitation.

In 2015, we were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for our education and research into safe water and sanitation for the world's poorest communities.

About National Institute Hydrology, Roorkee

National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee, is the premier research Institute in India in the area of hydrology and water resources.