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What, how & when of water
- City NGO invited to convene session at Japan world forum

How to combat floods in cities, or stop them from sinking by replenishing aquifers eroded in urbanisation' What are the latest trends in distribution and management of drinking water' How to prevent water-borne ailments or harvest rainwater'

The 3rd World Water Forum, to be held in Japan between March 16 and 23, will encourage sharing of best practices in water, and a Calcutta-based NGO will be part of the global search for “sustainable solutions”.

Centre For Built Environment (CBE), a city-based “voluntary think-tank” of like-minded architects, urban planners and environmentalists, has been invited by the World Water Council, organiser of the summit, to convene a session at the Osaka International Convention Center. Osaka, along with Kyoto and Shiga, are the three prefectures hosting the global water meet.

The CBE session, titled ‘Water in Asian Megacities: 21st Century Actions and Options’, will focus on how water, “the common thread”, shapes the lives and cultures of Asian cities. Veteran architect and town planner Santosh Ghosh, president, will head the 10-member CBE delegation to Japan, which provides “invaluable exposure” to a clutch of young city architects.

Three of the youngsters will attend the Asia-Pacific Conference on Hydrology and Water Resources, a pre-forum meet organised by Kyoto University, while another will participate in the Youth Water Forum. CMDA director (planning) Nishith Som and a representative of the Central water resources ministry will complete the delegation.

The forum sessions will be held on major themes like water and poverty, water and urban governance, ground water, waste water management, etc. Besides, there will be a ministerial conference and a water fair and festival.

“It’s heartening that the World Water Council has acknowledged the role of architects and planners in integrated management of water-related issues in an urban context. For CBE, this is a rare honour,” says architect and executive committee member Unmesh Kirtikar, who was the sole Indian speaker at the 21st World Congress of Architecture held in Berlin last July.

Through CD-ROM presentations, CBE will share the Asian experience, also showcasing water-linked folk arts and cultural festivals, including a “live demonstration” of Holi celebrations. “The team will try to absorb information at the forum and articulate endurable answers in terms of who needs to do what, how and when,” explains Kirtikar.

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