A University of Southern Queensland researcher will use his expertise to help Indian citizens and farmers tackle the impacts of climate change. Associate Professor Ravinesh Deo, a leading scientist in artificial intelligence, will head to India next year to work with key scientists at the National Institute of Hydrology.

Associate Professor Deo was awarded an Australia-India Strategic Research Fund Early and Mid-Career Fellowship 2020, which was announced by the Australian Academy of Science on 22 November.

Agriculture is the lifeblood of the Indian economy, but the sector is under threat with millions of farmers facing unprecedented drought conditions. Associate Professor Deo will lead a project that will look at how the latest artificial intelligence technologies can be used to address drought and water resources management issues. “Currently, agriculture soaks up an estimated 90 per cent of India’s annual rainfall, which is not sustainable especially when most Indian farmers are dealing with high levels of drought and the country is in a water crisis,” Associate Professor Deo said.

“Our main objective is to develop AI models for future extreme climate events so the water and agriculture sectors can build greater resilience to withstand the impacts of climate change, rising population and social consequences.”

“Rising temperatures and drought is perhaps the greatest threat facing not only these two countries, but the entire world. It’s putting extreme pressure on water systems and will only continue to get worse unless we can develop effective solutions and intelligent strategies for flood and drought management, and devise measures for optimal water utilisation.”

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