India’s deepening water crisis : A report by Columbia University Water Center and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (2012)

This report is based on the preliminary survey of 27 water intensive industrial sectors and its impacts related to water climate risks

This report  is by the Columbia University Water Center and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. It is based on a preliminary survey of 27 major water intensive industrial sectors, carried out across diverse industrial sectors ranging from food processing to energy that gauges the industrial perceptions and impacts pertaining to water-climate risks.

Considering the tremendous risks that Indian businesses face due to water scarcity and the significant opportunities that exist therein, this study proposes to document the multifaceted climate and water risks associated within the operations and supply chain of major industrial sectors. However, there are several problems with this mechanism. Problems range from lack of data in a digital form that can to be used, non-availability of primary data in the public domain, to the inability for a real time analysis and feedback on the accuracy.

The basic issues of survey conducted for this report include water availability and use alongwith the risks associated with water, and also water treatment and reuse . A significant concern is the variation in rainfall across years and within the year in any part of the country. This water insecurity affects industrial sectors that may further create a long term economic impact resulting from shifts in water demands in the near future thus aggravating the complexity due to the interdependencies.

Though industries do perceive these risks and many are already conducting regular audits to improve conservation and efficiency, this report ensures that the data collected is available and interpreted by all concerned stakeholders. This is of utmost importance For complete consensus between the industrialists and the policy makers.

This national level geospatial study of water risks perceptions and responses also identifies opportunities for the private and public sector to jointly address the potential water challenges for improving water stewardship and competitiveness in the global setting.

The analysis of the region wise and temporal distribution of India’s rainfall suggests that while many parts of India can provide for water needs through small scale catchment, there are areas that require larger, longer-term storage infrastructure to buffer precipitation variability. In addition, the study also suggests that if the national cropping patterns were optimized in relationship to available water, India could save 33 trillion liters of water while adding $10 billion to its national agricultural revenue.

The noticeable benefits for the Indian industrial sector will include how the research questions dealt in the report will result in key policy decisions.

The preliminary study showcased in this report will ultimately evolve into a comprehensive cross-(industry) sectoral and geography specific water risk analysis.

Click here to read the full report.

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