WATER SITUATION IN INDIA : THE SINKING AVAILABILITY
India is amongst the leading growing nations of the world. Significant improvements done both on the both on the economic & social fronts in the country over the years has made it attractive enough globally catching eye balls. Although, India adopted the growth track long back , but some noteworthy initiatives taken by the government in past 4-5 years has really done well in building a strong global image. Serious push given to the infrastructure development can be safely considered as one of the reasons for such a turn around. However, the pacing infrastructure activities in India are gaining visibility from the local and international boundaries but at the same time raises environmental concerns as well, one such being usage of water and its availability.
Water availability is one of the serious environmental issues faced by many geographies around the globe, India being no different.
With swelling population, speeding urbanization & increasing industrial growth, water consumption in the country has already shot up by leaps and bounds against its supply. Further, year on year declining per capita water availability in the country has raised serious concerns for the meeting the water needs of its inhabitants. It is pertinent to note that at present, per capita water availability in the country hovers between 1400-1450 cubic meters, which has fallen from 1545 cubic meters estimated last during 2011. Also, it is anticipated to witness a further low of 60-80 cubic meters by approaching 2025.
WATER TREATMENT MARKET IN INDIA : AN OVERVIEW
India has been considered to be amongst the top four markets in global water treatment with Brazil, China and United States. The country is experiencing rapid industrialization, population growth and economic growth, and to sustain this demands more reliable supplies of municipal and industrial water. Municipal and industrial wastewater treatment and reuse will be the most exciting area for future growth.
Waste water management has been given a high priority in the 2012 National Water Policy , which also supports water reuse for beneficial purposes. International companies are expected to enter the market to tap into these opportunities. India is one of the biggest markets in size and growth rate, but among the top markets, the volume of India’s capital expenditure is the lowest, which suggests that India has the biggest potential to grow further. Even though the Water Market in India shows a lot of potential, there are many challenges restricting its growth. For example, the water and wastewater infrastructure is inadequate, of poor quality and in need of reform. Eighteen percent of the world’s population live in India, with only 4% of the total usable water resources of which a large number of them donot have access to safe drinking water. The wastewater sector has traditionally been a slow-moving market driven by compliance with regulation. The advent of wastewater reuse changes the sector to one generating a valuable product—safe and reliable water supply. This opens up the possibility for new project structures and inflows of private investment and provides powerful incentives to devote more resources to develop promising technologies. Indian entrepreneurs are taking note of these opportunities and are seeking ways to work with the government and other private partners to support the growth of this nascent market together and, in so doing, contribute to the sustainable development of this sector in India.
National Water Mission in India
In June 2008, India released its first National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) outlining future policies and programmes addressing climate mitigation and adaption. The plan identifies eight core missions and National Water Mission was one of them. The main objective of the mission is conservation of water, minimizing wastage and ensuring its more equitable distribution both across and within states through integrated water resources development and management. Also, it takes into account the provisions of National Water Policy and develops a framework to optimize water use by increasing water use efficiency by 20% through regulatory mechanisms with differential entitlements and pricing. Some of the key strategies of the National Water Mission are given below.
- Review of the network of hydrological observation stations and automatic weather stations , collection of necessary additional hydro-metrological & hydrological data for proper assessment of climate change impact
- Reassessment of basin-wise water situation in the present scenario, including water quality by using latest techniques, assessment of likely future situation with changes in demands, land use, precipitation & evaporation. Expeditious implementation of programme for repair, renovation& restoration of water bodies in areas sensitive to climate change by increasing capacity of minor tanks, rehabilitating water bodies, etc
- Exploration of groundwater, including groundwater exploration to decipher deeper fresh water aquifers up to 1000/1500 m. Expansion of programme for recharge of groundwater through dug well
- Addressing the quality aspects of drinking water in urban & rural areas to orient investment under NREGA towards water conservation
- Preparation of necessary guideline for encouraging PPP model for recycling and waste water treatment, providing technical & financial support for common waste water treatment & recycling plants
- Initiate benchmark studies for urban water supply & usage, adopt volumetric for urban water supply, water supply system to be made sustainable through appropriate pricing
- Undertaking pilot projects for improvement in water use efficiency in collaboration with states
- Adequate provision for operation & maintenance of the projects to be appropriately enhanced