Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2006
Column I-1 Bringing People Together through Assistance: The Hussain Sagar Lake and Catchment Area Improvement Project in India
Hyderabad City, the capital of India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh, is a rapidly developing city which in recent years has become a center for international business with many foreign companies having set up operations. However, Hyderabad's development has led to a serious environmental problem, namely the deteriorating water quality of Hussain Sagar Lake, located in the city's central district. To deal with this problem, the Indian Government requested support from Japan, which possesses advanced knowledge in the water and sanitation sector. In response, Japan provided a ¥7.7 billion loan aimed at improving the lake's water quality and the sanitary environment in the surrounding area. This support has focused on infrastructure development, such as the construction and the repair of a sewage treatment plant and installation of sewage pipes; and on environmental improvement, such as dredging the lake bottom and developing the lakefront environment. The experience of Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture, which had similar problems with nearby Lake Biwa, has been reflected in this project. Actually, the project was made possible by the bond formed between Hikone and Hyderabad through exchanges at the individual level for a half century.
"Originally, the relationship between the two cities began at a meeting of the Y's Men's Club1 held in Tokyo in April 1959, where we met members from India and found congenial spirits." So reflects Mr.Shimano, a resident of Hikone and a supervisor of the Hikone International Association, who participated in this meeting. After the meeting, the Y's Men's Club of Hikone and Hyderabad formed an International Brother Club (IBC)2 relationship in 1965, and in 2005, a grand commemorative meeting was held to celebrate the 40th year since conclusion of IBC, an event reported widely both in Japan and overseas.
The Japanese Government was considering support for the Hussain Sagar Lake and Catchment Area Improvement Project at this time. The person in charge at JBIC learned about the relationship between the two cities when, by coincidence, he saw a news report of the 40th anniversary meeting of the conclusion of IBC and noted the similarities of the two cities, both situated by a lake and both having the same problem of water quality improvement. Then, JBIC cooperated with Shiga Prefectural University in Hikone and, under four-party sponsorship which included the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority, it was decided to hold a workshop concerning the improvement of water quality in Hyderabad. At this moment, the long relationship between these two cities nurtured at the individual level came to fruition at the level of international cooperation.
A river with deteriorated water quality running into Hussein Sagar Lake (Photo: JBIC)
At this workshop, presentations of Hikone's experience with Lake Biwa's severely deteriorated water quality were given, along with explanations of the causes, measures to improve water quality, and the results. This prompted many questions from participants, who were startled by the improved results. The strong interest stimulated by this workshop encouraged the Hyderabad group to request the opportunity to go to Biwa Lake and see first-hand the water quality improvement measures implemented. As a result, training through JICA was provided in Hikone in May 2006, consisting of a tour of Lake Biwa and the water purification facilities. Through this experience, the visitors learned technology and acquired knowledge about water quality improvement.
Mr.Kawashima of Hikone City's Citizens Exchange Section was responsible for accepting the trainees. He says that though he was apprehensive about the differences in population3 and culture, he concentrated on giving a straightforward presentation of the water conservation measures. Although Mr. Kawashima thought it may be difficult to pursue this cooperation on a continuous basis as a city, he believed that the foundation of personal exchange on the individual level had been built already and decided that he wanted to build a positive, long-lasting relationship. Support through ODA has helped to solidify this 50-year relationship between the two cities. By using the experience acquired at Lake Biwa, the water quality of Hussain Sagal Lake can be expected to improve.
Participants of a workshop listening attentively to explanations (Photo: JBIC)