New tool launched for effective water management
New Delhi, Feb 27 (IBNS): The Confederation of Indian Industry's (CII) Water India 2015 event on Friday launched the new version of the India Water Tool (IWT 2.0), which helps users understand water risks and prioritise actions for sustainable water management.
IWT 2.0, the first of its kind, is a country-specific tool developed jointly by a 14-member working group, including 10 companies (ACC, Ambuja, Aditya Birla Group, BASF, ITC, Jain Irrigation, Mahindra, Monsanto, Nestle, PepsiCo) and three knowledge partners (World Resources Institute, CII-Triveni Water Institute, and Skoll Global Threats Fund), coordinated by The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
India faces the daunting challenge of water scarcity that imposes significant risks on health, agriculture and industrial operations. As industrialization and urbanization accelerate, water levels are in constant decline throughout this heavily groundwater-dependent country.
Forecasts estimate that India will face a 50% gap in demand and supply by the year 2030 (Source: 2030 Water Resources Global Water Supply and Demand Model; Baseline agricultural production based on IFPRI IMPACT-WATER base case). Although Indian industry is a small consumer of water in India, yet it needs to be the most enlightened stakeholder.
The tool helps users respond to these challenges by enabling them to measure and map water risks at a meaningful scale. User-friendly and publicly available, it integrates 14 available datasets from Indian government agencies as well as water stress indicators from the World Resources Institute and Columbia Water Center.
The IWT 2.0 online platform provides easy access to, and analysis of, comprehensive and critical data. Users can produce maps or export excel-based spreadsheets with indicators selected to capture key water risks. It allows for first level screening of new sites by companies and investors to assess their potential risks, and generates outputs that can be used to report on disclosure initiatives like the Global Reporting Initiative, CDP Water and Dow Jones Sustainability Index, among others.
The tool is another step towards improved water management in India. The nationwide analysis provided by the tool can guide a deeper understanding of local communities' water situations, and help build a comprehensive corporate water management strategy and holistic stewardship approaches. Follow-up activities can include prioritization of action for water-stressed sites, detailed site level assessments, internal environmental data-tracking, and evaluation of new projects.
Water can only be sustainably managed if water data is collected, maintained and made available publicly; allowing stakeholders across sectors to take leadership and responsibility. IWT 2.0 encourages all stakeholders to take action, whether at national, watershed or plant level to support improved water management by all.
K. B. Biswas, Chairman, Central Ground Water Board, said: “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. Companies must act responsibly with their water use and this tool is a good first step for them to understand where to focus their action.”
Joppe Cramwinckel, Director, Water, WBCSD, said: “We are proud to have led the development of the India Water Tool. Water is a shared resource with finite volumes, resulting in collective risk. Collaboration is key to developing scalable and impactful solutions and driving their locally-relevant implementation.”
Anil Jain, Managing Director, Jain Irrigation, said: “The issue of water availability and quality is becoming a big issue in India especially when it comes to competing demands of water from industry, farmers and households. The tool delivers meaningful value in providing access to data so that value of water can be properly measured, risk can be properly assessed and industries and agencies can make the right decisions.”
Vivek Bharati, VP Corporate Affairs, PepsiCo India, said: “India Water Tool symbolizes collaboration and leadership on the part of all companies that have come together to contribute to water sustainability in India. We are proud to be a partner and would commend this tool to the Indian industry. The IWT 2.0 will help Indian industry assess water risks across the country and prioritise its actions. This tool has the potential for creating win-win solutions for everyone and help industry collaborate and contribute to water sustainability in India.”
“IWT V2 is a unique example of collaboration between key players demonstrating the leadership role of the industry in the critical area of Water Stewardship. The tool will help in moving a step further towards more effective and sustainable water management practices at the grassroots level. Going forward, CII-Triveni Water Institute (CII-TWI) would work on Version 3 that uses the SALDAS (South Asia Land Data Assimilation System) data in partnership with John Hopkins University, NASA researchers, the WBCSD and various institutions in South Asia,” said Dhruv Sawhney, Chairman, CII-TWI, Past President CII and Chairman & Managing Director, Triveni Engineering Industries Limited.
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