The Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP) is an Australian government initiative with the goal of increasing water, food and energy security in South Asia, targeting the poorest and most vulnerable, particularly women and girls. CSIRO is one of several partners that are delivering this initiative.
SDIP focuses on three major Himalayan river basins – the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra. This region has an estimated 300 million people living in extreme poverty – the single largest concentration of poverty in the world. The economies and livelihoods of the majority of people in this sub-region are heavily dependent on shared water resources.
CSIRO expertise is supporting the steps towards sharing water resources through integrated water resources management. Preliminary work has focused on building relationships and also understanding the biophysical, socio-economic, environmental, water management and policy environments of basins and sub-basins within South Asia. Our work with key agencies and educational institutions in Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh builds capacity and tools to support the individual water reform journeys in these countries.
During SDIP phase 1 (2013-2016), we initiated the building of river system modelling capacity to quantify water resources, developed estimates of sustainable levels of groundwater use for irrigation, collated and shared datasets to support basin planning, and established a collaborative environment between Australia and South Asia for sharing information. Progress was made in three areas: knowledge and practice, capacity development and creating an enabling environment.
CSIRO’s work in SDIP phase 2 aims to provide repeatable, quality-assured, evidence-based approaches leading to improved water resource planning and management in the Indus and Koshi basins and northwest Bangladesh.
Priority regional outcomes include:
- increased food security and economic outcomes for populations by identifying key challenges of addressing the water-food-energy nexus
- increased resilience of people and systems to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate such as planning for seasonal fluctuations in rainfall and temperature
- reduced investment risk in infrastructure development and deployment such as hydropower or irrigation by identifying water use needs for energy and agriculture.