Training young water professionals in leadership and transdisciplinary competencies for sustainable water management in India

Basant Maheshwari, Dharmappa Hagare, Ricky Spencer, Jen Dollin, Jason Reynolds, Deborah Atkins, Roger Packham, Okke Batelaan, T. G. Sitharam, Yi Chen Lan, Meenakshi Arora, Rakesh Kashyap, Suresh Kartha, Arumugam Sathasivan, Subhashisa Dutta

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Young water professionals (YWPs) have a critical role in ensuring how water resources will be managed to contribute towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To address the challenges of climate change, population growth, and urbanization, YWPs require leadership skills, transdisciplinary competencies, technical knowledge, and practical experience. This article presents the India YWP training program, led by Western Sydney University and the Australia India Water Centre (AIWC), aimed at developing a cohort of skilled YWPs and nurturing the next generation of water leaders in support of India's water reform agenda and the National Water Mission. The program engaged 20 YWPs, consisting of an equal gender representation, selected by the Ministry of Jal Shakti from various water management agencies and departments across India. The 11-month training program was designed to be transformative and interactive, and it used an online platform comprising online lectures, mentoring, and project-based learning facilitated by the AIWC team. The training methodology focused on engaged learning, incorporating online workshops, Situation Understanding and Improvement Projects (SUIPs), online group discussions, and mentoring. The SUIPs provided a platform for YWPs to work in pairs, receiving guidance from AIWC members, enabling them to develop practical skills and knowledge in real-world contexts. The program effectively enhanced participants' capacities in project planning, design, implementation, and management, while fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills by adopting transdisciplinary approaches. Furthermore, participants demonstrated improved leadership, project management, time management, and communication skills. The training helped YWPs to equip them with a holistic perspective and stakeholder-focused mindset to address diverse water challenges from a holistic and long-term standpoint.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-314
Number of pages15
JournalWorld Water Policy
Issue number3
Early online date8 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Australia-India Water Centre
  • leadership development
  • training
  • transdisciplinary ap
  • water management
  • young water professionals


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