From 2007 until 2012 LeAF was involved in the EU coordination action “Managing water scarcity: intelligent tools and cooperative strategies” or Mai Tai for short. The Mai Tai project took place in China and India. Asia is the most world’s most populated continent and has the lowest per capita availability of freshwater resources. The water needs are rapidly growing, because of agricultural modernisation, industrialisation, urbanisation and the growing population. As a result, both surface waters and groundwater are increasingly overexploited and polluted.

All major metropolis in Asia today face acute water shortages and the situation is even worse in rural areas. Thousands of villages in Asia still do not have any local source of drinking water, and women have to walk long distances to collect it. While the demand for clean water is growing, its availability is diminishing. Solutions to this problem require large investments by the state, which it cannot meet at the needed scale. To improve the situation, innovative concepts for water management are required, which also take into account traditional, indigenous ways of water management. Project Mai-Tai was a coordination action aiming at developing a coherent set of innovative, relevant and cooperative policy options and management strategies that can help in improving the situation with regard to water supply and wastewater management in Asia. Two case study areas were selected, the Yongding river basin in China and the Bandi river basin in India.

 The following core coordination activities were the basis of Mai-Tai:

1. Enabling a dialogue between researchers and practitioners promoting state of the art and indigenous technologies and practices: The consortium believes that modern systems alone are not capable of solving the water needs of the people in many developing countries, and there is a strong need of generating innovative options through cross fertilization between both "worlds".

2. Based on (1), innovative policy options and management strategies were compiled, and a multi-stakeholder interaction was carried out in order to evaluate them, supported by intelligent knowledge management tools. Each stakeholder has specific forms of knowledge with respect to scale, topic, and reasoning processes, so a large amount of information could be generated.

 LeAF was leader of work package 2, called “Innovation potential of state of the art technologies and practises”. Under this work package an overview was made of the existing technologies and practices for water use and wastewater treatment in the case study areas, for the domestic, agricultural and industrial sectors. The potential for improvement by using state of the art technologies and practices was evaluated. Based on this first evaluation, the  potential of state-of-art technologies in the case study areas was demonstrated for selected smaller case study areas.


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