Department of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology of the RWTH Aachen University

Invitation to be speaker at ASIA 2012

After having written an abstract about what our research group is doing in India and what my special research interest is, I got an invitation to the ASIA 2012 Conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This was the Fourth International Conference on Water Resources and Renewable Energy Development in Asia. It included presentations and discussions on the opportunities, development targets, accomplishments and challenges of countries in the Asia Pacific region regarding water. As I should speak to the audience, the organizers also agreed to sponsor my travel and stay. Thus I was very happy to see another Asian country besides India soon and join water specialist from all over the world.

Water challenges and social structure

Water challenges and social structure

I prepared an article about the social impact of urbanization on water resources in India. In a first chapter “A) Urbanization and society in India” I explored the social structure with culture, politics and economy in the context of urbanization and globalization. The concerning actual changes are closely linked to the rise of modern consumption orientated lifestyles and the new middle class in India. The second chapter “B) General and inter-sectorial water issues” described water availability, use, disposal and pollution considering the implication of multi-layered social structures.

Rising middle class in Hyderabad

Rising middle class in Hyderabad

Therefore I also used data and information from our field work in the Megacity Hyderabad to demonstrate certain issues. Finally I presented in the two last chapters the suitability of strategies for water challenges in India. Hence I first introduced different level strategies from manifold perspectives driving desired changes, for example global and Indian as well as conservative and innovative approaches.

As finding I presented, that an integrated implementation of several strategies is recommended in view of the already evident water crises due to urbanization and economic growth in India. But this implementation is the weak point because of social and mainly governmental problems. Therefore changes in governance as well as in the economic sector are necessary in first instance. Regarding the rising consumer class, this means sustainable production strategies focused on consumer and lifestyle decision on sustainable water management. This strategy is tailored to the conditions of further economic liberalization and decentralization and is suitable in India as well as in other affected countries.

I was very excited because this was my first presentation and in addition it was in front of experts. Therefore it took me a lot of time to prepare it. I was reading much information about good presentations, about written as well as oral. I decided to do it as easy as possible for me, to not fail.

ASIA 2012 - Conference Audience

ASIA 2012 - Conference Audience

Happily the audience was not that huge and the team leader of the group with the topic “Social Issues” was extremely friendly and helpful. Finally I got the feedback, that my presentation was very professional and interesting. So well done for the first time and good exercise for the next, even more important presentation of my research work.

Wat Chiang Man

Wat Chiang Man

The program also permitted to see Thai culture, historical sites in Chiang Mai (which has plenty of it) and to enjoy the varietal fresh Thai food. That Thais do not often speak English compared to India, is not a disadvantage because they are really very very friendly. Just as remarkable was hygiene, cleanness and a quite little bit organised traffic, which I all miss in India. Being a little sad to turn back, there is one really huge advantage in nearby India: everything is cheaper.

Jasmin Mohr
Jasmin Mohr, PhD Student, National Institute of Technology (NIT) Rourkela, Department of Civil Engineering & RWTH Aachen University, Department of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, Research interest: urbanisation and lifestyle, mohr@lih.rwth-aachen.de See all posts from Jasmin Mohr

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