Private-Public Investments: Imperatives for Sustainable Water Solutions in India
India’s Public-Private-Partnership business framework, which has been key to bringing about critical changes in its water management system, will be in the spotlight at the upcoming India Business Forum during the Singapore International Water Week.
Participants will examine innovative approaches and solutions to make water a stimulus for growth as the water-strained country crosses the midway mark in its ambitious reform-oriented infrastructure development programme – which sees the Government of India contributing INR 500 billion (US$ 10.7 billion) towards the Jawahar al Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) from 2006 to 2012.
Exponential increase in demand for water due to population growth and agricultural use, coupled with high degree of variability in the availability of water resources throughout the country, will drive per capita accessibility of water to under 1,000 cubic metres by 2020 if left unchecked. Acknowledging challenges such as inadequate water legislation, outdated and inefficient technology and service delivery problems, one of the focus areas of the JNNURM is the provision of reliable water supply and sanitation at affordable prices.
Beyond the government’s push in the betterment of water sanitation and availability, the world’s second most populous country is also attracting supplementary financial and technological contributions from the private sector in the development of sustainable water solutions. The synergy between the private and public sectors will be crucial in solving the imminent water crisis in India.
Indeed, private organisations and business associations have responded actively to the call for public-private partnerships. One such organisation is the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), co-organiser of the India Business Forum, which recently held its annual Water Summit to discuss challenges and opportunities in the water sector in Gujarat. CII will share key takeaways from the summit with the international water community during the Water Week.
Additionally, the public sector continues to drive water consciousness with initiatives such as the National Water Mission, which aims for 20 per cent conservation in water use. Although water deficiency is still prevalent, industry experts are optimistic that this shortfall can be met through the implementation of innovative solutions for more effective use of water resources.
Recognising India’s potential for growth in the water industry, 15 leaders will converge at the India Business Forum to engage in meaningful discussions on boosting partnerships between the public and private sectors. From companies which require large quantities of water operationally to advisors of financing options, the India Business Forum will facilitate the broadening of business engagement in community water projects and synergising of India’s water management approach.
Commenting on the all-round strategy to resolve water challenges in India, Sanjeev Chadha, participant of the India Business Forum and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo India, and Chairman, CII National Committee on Water, said: "Water is a burning platform for India - the single largest threat to our continued economic progress. Fortunately, the solutions are still within reach. They require committed public/private partnerships, with a key focus on agriculture, which accounts for over 80% of our water consumption, and the government can play a catalytic role by rewarding and recognizing efficient water use."
The India Business Forum will provide the platform for solutions-focused dialogue and sharing of best practices in areas such as streamlining the intricate process of providing affordable and clean water with active conservation efforts by private corporations; and alleviation of water challenges through construction of check-dams, recharge ponds and rain or roof-water harvesting.
“The water industry in India is constantly evolving with exciting and valuable prospects. As such, we hope to create impactful conversations by providing a timely, global platform during the India Business Forum. We are encouraged by the strong participation from both the public and private sectors from India, and expect the session to be a magnet for major water players from other countries,” said Michael Toh, Managing Director of Singapore International Water Week.
The India Business Forum will be held on July 1, 2010, from 1pm at Gallery East, Level 3, Suntec International Convention & Exhibition Centre.