Business India ×
 Climate Change

Published on: June 26, 2020, 8:52 a.m.
The water imperative
  • The highest water consumption after drinking is for farming

By Sekhar Seshan. Consulting Editor, Business India

The revised National Water Policy (NWP) should include only goals and outcomes that are realistic, achievable, environmentally, socially and economically sustainable, says a report by the Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR).

A clear roadmap together with a defined responsibility and accountability structure should also be spelled out at all levels, says a report by the Pune-headquartered not-for-profit organisation, which works to make water available in rural areas and optimise its use.

The objectives can be realised only if adequate resources - trained human resource, finances, and technologies - should be provided for, according to the authors of the report, Dr. Eshwer Kale, Dr. Marcella D’Souza and Crispino Lobo of the WOTR Centre of Resilience Studies (W-CReS).

Adoption of an ecosystem-based approach and climate-proofing of watersheds and policies that incentivise increased production of rainfed crops have an immense potential to shift the ‘use narrative’ in the water sector in India. “We sincerely hope that the drafting committee to revise the existing NWP will take these issues into consideration,” they add.

Quoting the NITI Aayog’s 2018 report that highlights the water crisis facing the country, with 21 cities expected to run out of groundwater this year, WOTR says this underscores the need to evolve a NWP that “not only addresses imminent challenges but also establishes a framework and pathway to sustainable, efficient and equitable management of surface and groundwater resources”.

WOTR proposes that ‘water for ecology and the environment’ must be the second-most important priority after water for drinking and domestic needs. The environment and its ecology, it says, are what provide the essential and crucial ecosystem services like water, food, fuel, wood, and fibre, as well as balancing the climate.

The survival, sustenance, and progress of the human race and civilisation itself, all depend on this, and securing these ecosystem services is of utmost importance – especially with the climate change and rising global temperatures which will adversely affect India.

With three water-intensive crops – rice, wheat, and sugarcane – consuming almost 80 per cent of irrigation water, a reduction in the area under these crops, together with crop diversification and use of micro-irrigation, can significantly contribute to alleviating water scarcity and making additional water resources available for other needs, especially in rainfed and drought-prone regions. This move can change the overall cropping pattern and free up water resources for other needs.

Re-prioritising public investments in the water and agriculture sectors to promote water use efficiency and infrastructure development, accelerating and augmenting programmes for watershed and catchment development as well as soil and water conservation works, an ecosystem-based adaptation approach, developing catchments of dams on a priority basis and pricing groundwater use and making its contamination a punishable offence are among the other measures the new NWP should include, WOTR hopes. Is the committee listening?


As companies line up new products, competition hots up

New EVs in the fray

Published on Jan. 25, 2023, 8:20 p.m.

As companies line up new products, competition hots up


Embracing the wind to reduce emissions is a growing trend in the shipping industry

Ships get ‘greener’

Published on Jan. 25, 2023, 7:58 p.m.

Embracing the wind to reduce emissions is a growing trend in the shipping industry

Renewable Energy

BPCL signs MoU with Rajasthan to set up a 1 GW RE plant

BPCL to set up 1GW RE plant

Published on Jan. 25, 2023, 7:40 p.m.

BPCL signs MoU with Rajasthan to set up a 1 GW RE plant


The government mulls to issue its first green bonds at a 'greenium’

Green bonds on cards

Published on Jan. 25, 2023, 7:10 p.m.

The government mulls to issue its first green bonds at a 'greenium’



The introduction of black pepper as an inter-crop in the sopari and coconut orchards, has enabled farmers to cultivate crops simultaneously

Skill Development

In 2020-21, the programme reached over 112,482 girls in urban and rural locations across six states in India, including 10,000 across Delhi


The event brought together stakeholders and changemakers to participate in a series of conversations on global trends and recent developments


The programme will focus on educating children on oral health and building awareness around the dangers of tobacco use