The world is getting thirstier and so is India. Many causes of increased demand are common at both the global and national level; increasing population, rapid industrialisation, higher standards of living to name a few. The only thing not increasing commensurately is the amount of water available.
The UN Water Conference held in January this year delved into the water-energy nexus and portended that world water demand could exceed 44 per cent of the available annual resources by 2050. So how do these global trends look through the prism of the Indian experience?
At the national level the challenges are acknowledged. Writing about the Twelfth Plan’s water strategy, Planning Commission member Mihir Shah commented, “India faces a major crisis of water ... The demands of a rapidly industrialising economy and urbanising society come at a time when the potential for augmenting supply is limited, water tables are falling and water quality issues have increasingly come to the fore.”
On the table
One consequence, here and elsewhere, is that water is moving up the boardroom agenda. The CDP Global Water Report 2014, authored by Deloitte, presents results of analysis based on the water disclosures of 184 Global 500 corporations. Participants included four major Indian companies. Almost three-quarters of respondents identified water as a substantive business risk. Challenges included business interruption due to inadequate public infrastructure, supply chain disruption due to water scarcity, and reputational damage.
Water risk was seen as immediate. Two-thirds of the risks expected to impact direct operations and supply chains were anticipated to occur within the next five years. To give this local perspective, it is estimated that India has seen a 60 per cent decline in per capita availability of water in the last 50 years; while Ernst & Young predicts industry’s demand for water will grow from 40.86 billion cubic metres (Bm3) in 2010 to 91.63Bm3 in 2030.
Article Source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/why-water-is-a-business-issue/article5815518.ece
Publication Date: 21 March 2014