Now a tool for better water management in India

Fri, 2019-02-22 12:00 -- SCC India Staff

watertool

Water scarcity is an urgent risk in the country. The 2018 report by India’s policy think-tank NITI Aayog highlights that the country is facing the worst water crisis in history which can lead to an eventual 6% loss in the country’s GDP by 2030. Businesses face significant risks from water scarcity and have real opportunities to gain from addressing the challenge.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and its partners launched the third version of India Water Tool (IWT), a water-related data compiled from information provided by the government and other organisations. IWT3.0 is a comprehensive and user-friendly application that makes water data from government and other organizations available on a publicly accessible platform. The goal is to assist key stakeholders to identify water risks and plan for better water management in India.

Water can only be sustainably managed if data with an appropriate level of granularity is made available publicly in a format usable to all stakeholders. IWT3.0 does all of this while encouraging stakeholders to take action, whether at national, watershed or facility level. It will be a critical element of strengthening water management in India both now and in the future.

It includes:

  • Over 20 datasets from key Indian government authorities and other organizations
  • A dataset on real-time satellite capture of surface water availability from NASA and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Water stress models developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Columbia Water Center (CWC).

It also brings results from two local watershed-level water-balance studies to give a complete picture of the watershed health and determine the potential for water recharge and demand-side management. All water users and stakeholders can openly access this data and use it to plan management interventions in that watershed.

Tom Williams, Director for Water, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, says, “The India Water Tool has been developed by 20 companies and three knowledge partners over its three successive versions. The tool is a unique example of collaboration between actors across sectors to create a sustainable future through responsible water management and demonstrates what can be achieved in a water-scarce environment when business, government and knowledge partners work together.”

K C Naik, Chairman, Central Ground Water Board, says, “I’m delighted to see that through the India Water Tool, groundwater-related data collected by the Central Ground Water Board has been combined and made accessible to users so they can take an evidence-based approach to inform their water management strategies. Businesses must act responsibly with their water use and this tool is a good first step for them to understand where to focus their action, and how to go about planning management actions.”

Thomas Varghese, Business Head – textiles, Acrylic Fibre and Overseas Spinning, Aditya Birla Group, says “The India Water Tool symbolizes collaboration and leadership on the part of all companies and partners that have come together to contribute to water sustainability in India. Our intent is to make the application relevant for use by all stakeholders at large. Only when we are able to give access to water-data to all water users, planning agencies, communities, and investors, we can expect coordinated action and a movement for improved management. I see IWT3.0 a step in this direction.”

The tool is an important milestone towards improved water management in India. The nationwide analysis it provides allows for a good understanding of local water situations and helps build a comprehensive corporate water management strategy and holistic stewardship approaches. It provides companies with a data-led approach in working with the other water- users for better water management in local geographies.

Follow-up activities will include prioritization of action for water-stressed sites, detailed site level assessments, internal environmental data-tracking and evaluation of new projects.