While there is a severe drought going on Maharashtra the India Water Week 2013 is held in New Delhi under the Motto: “Efficient Water Management: Challenges and Opportunities” organized by the Ministry of Water Resources.
This convention is dominated by engineers. The presentations were very technical, and not policy oriented or focused on social issues unlike the WWW, which was more policy oriented and conceptual. Apart from the Global Water Partnership and 2 World bank keynote speakers, presenting the South Asian Water Initiative (SAWI) the India Water Week hat delegates from all over India presenting their work.
The water week was held in Vigan Bhawan in New Delhi. Security seems to be though in India everywhere, not just in the capital. Vigyan Bhawan is decorated everyday in the 5 days with myrads of yellow and pink roses, and white lilies. Little bouquets of flowers and large arrays in front of every panel. The glossy brochures look fancy and smell of petroleum. A little balance sheet of water consumption: Little bisleri bottles with an average estimate of two per person per day talking about more than 2200 delegates makes 4400 per day. This multiplied by 5 days makes 22.ooo bottles.
Badges with blue ribbons (same as in WWW in Stockholm) and really nice Rucksacks and perfect and smooth organization thanks to an outsourced agency (apart from keeping the mobile phones when the president arrived. The phones were piled up OUTSIDE the premises under the counter!). There were fancy lunch coupons, oily food and tea breakes. Delegates of them more than 90 percent of the delegates were male government officials in the typical outfit of the Indian middle class men, black shoes, grey or black trousers with the accurate crease and shirt. During the lunch and tea breaks they que close-by-close. There is something very instinctive about it. Upper class Indians make fun of these people (as I could witness in the very conventional Sankalp unconvetion held in a fancy 5 star hotel…) and yet they are the backbone of the country. They hold the white collar jobs in the indian administration. Though the language of the convention is english, there was something very vernacular of the style. The smart ladies in Sarees from the outsourced organizer agency represent the urban english speaking elite.
There was the lady from Southafrica who is half indian and half south African, looking a bit lost at the convention. The young hip boys from OXCAM working for organizations such as Global water intelligence or being part of startup creating smart application for water users (http://nextdrop.org/). Smart and bold Indian-Americans from top american universities (waiving self-confidently their blue passports at the registration…) contrasting the young Tamil female researcher, coming from a very orthodox family. A woman with a strong will getting into the tamil mode of speaking while presenting her by-heart-learned paper. These are my impressions… and it was great to mingle in with the crowd of water experts.