India Water Tool (IWT) 2.0, a tool that helps companies understand their water risks and prioritise actions for sustainable water management was launched at ‘Water India 2015 International Conference on Integrated and Collaborative Solutions for a Water Secure Future’, organised by CII, which provided a common platform to resonate the message of ensuring water use efficiency across sectors.
It is the first of its kind country-specific tool developed jointly by 10 companies namely ACC, Ambuja, Aditya Birla Group, BASF, ITC, Jain Irrigation, Mahindra, Monsanto, Nestle, PepsiCo and 3 knowledge partners, World Resources Institute, CII-Triveni Water Institute, and Skoll Global Threats Fund, coordinated by World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
IWT 2.0 represents a platform for easy analysis of business critical data. It allows for first level screening of new sites by companies and investors to assess their potential risks.
Shilpa Divekar Nirula, Managing Director, Monsanto India, mentioned the usefulness of the tool to agri-business. “Being an agri-based company we work with a number of farmers. Our aim is producing more while conserving more water to support growing population sustainably. The tool helps us move a step closer to our goals. We at Monsanto are proud to be a part of this initiative which we believe is one important step in the right direction,” said Shilpa.
She further said that agriculture alone consumes 90 percent of fresh water in India, thus we need to put better water management system in the sector. On the destructive impact of over exploitation of water for rice production in Punjab and Haryana, she said, “The government is trying to move out farmers in Punjab and Haryana from rice production to other crops like soyabean and corn. However, it is not an easy task. Before this, there is a need to set up an entire value chain for these crops. The farmers are anxious that who will buy their produce and what will be their economic condition after adopting new crops.”
Dr. Dilip Kulkarni, President, Agri food Division, Jain Irrigation Systems said that the efforts in the collaborative space are yielding results and the tool will be useful to the Indian industry in presenting a holistic picture of water situation at their sites while mapping pockets of water availability and delineating water stress areas.
Speaking on water management, he said, we are using 85-90 percent of fresh water only for agriculture which only irrigates 35-40 percent of agricultural land. Rest of the agri land is rainfed and dependent only on rainfall. But, there is no guarantee of moisture in the rainfed areas during the non-rainy seasons. He further urged for bringing change in the policies in growing sugarcane in Maharashtra and rice in Haryana and Punjab as these regions are facing water scarcity.
Earlier, Betsy Otto, Global Director, World Resources Institute, Washington, in her address mentioned about the relevance of presenting available information in a comprehensive manner through a platform, useful for the industry and other diverse stakeholders. Speaking at the conference, Otto highlighted the significance of the IWT 2.0, as being the first step for industries to assess their water risks.
Addressing the conference, KB Biswas, Chairman, Central Ground Water Board, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India, stated his belief that the country will only be able to meet its water needs if it adopts a science-based approach to manage its water resources. “I am delighted to see that through the IWT data collected from various reliable sources has been combined and made accessible to companies so they can take an evidence-based approach to inform their water management strategies. I applaud the efforts of the organisations involved in making this happen,” he added.
Joppe Cramwinkel, Director, Water, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Geneva, mentioned that Industry today must collaborate based on the understanding that water is a shared resource with finite volumes resulting in collective risk. Responsible water management requires better information for better decision and this tool is the first step towards understanding water risks and develop management plan.