Despite having 18% of the world’s population, India only possesses 4% of the world’s water resources. Around 1,100 cubic meters (m3) of water are available per person there, which is much less than the 1,700 m3 per person level for water stress and perilously near to the 1,000 m3 per person threshold for water shortage.
The demand for water resources is increased by economic and population expansion. Extreme weather events are predicted to become more frequent as a result of climate change. Ironically, India has one of the most water-intensive industries and is also the greatest net exporter of virtual water (the amount of water needed to generate the things that India exports). India is one of the countries with the highest water use per unit of gross domestic product (GDP), despite impending water shortages. This shows that many of India’s water problems are caused by the way it handles its limited water resources.
Government capabilities to improve water management are inadequate, and rules and incentives frequently encourage the wasteful and unproductive use of water. Poor data collection and assessment are combined with this as well as inadequate or nonexistent institutions (such as those for water regulation).
What crucial water management lessons can India pick up from other nations?
We don’t need to travel elsewhere to find effective models for managing water resources. The Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority, created as part of a World Bank project, is putting policies, rules, institutions, and incentives in place that encourage more efficient and productive use of water, such as by ensuring the fair distribution of water among users and by establishing water tariffs.
Maharashtra is communicating the lessons it has gained from its experience as other states work to build functional bodies.
It has been difficult to improve water service delivery in India since initiatives have rarely been supported by a supportive legislative or regulatory environment. India can learn from countries like Brazil, Colombia, Mozambique, and New South Wales (Australia) when it comes to enhancing the supply of water services.
Climate change’s effects on water are exacerbated by ineffective or nonexistent water management strategies. On the other hand, good water management may mitigate many of the effects of climate change on water resources. For instance, Vietnam has put in place a thorough program to manage water-related hazards and increase resilience.
Nigeria has worked to lessen the susceptibility of people, infrastructure, assets, natural capital, and livelihoods to land degradation by assisting in the prevention of erosion, reclaiming valuable land, and concentrating on sustainable livelihoods. Additionally, the Philippines is carrying out extensive urban drainage projects to enhance water management.
What role is the World Bank playing in this?
India’s ambitious economic goals are supported by the effective use of natural resources, especially water, according to the World Bank’s Country Partnership Framework for India. India’s efforts in the water industry are supported by several World Bank projects:
The World Bank is assisting the Government of India in developing institutional capacity for the management and cleanup of the Ganga as well as investments to decrease pollution through the National Mission for Clean Ganga. Investments in solid waste management, wastewater and effluent treatment, and riverfront development have been made possible by the $1 billion operation.
Through the restoration, capacity-building, and steps to improve legal and institutional frameworks, the Dam Restoration and Improvement Project, a different World Bank project, has enhanced the safety and performance of 223 dams in the nation.
To build capacity, enhance data monitoring and analysis, and establish the groundwork for benchmarking and performance-based water management, the National Hydrology Project is making a substantial contribution.
The Shimla Water Supply and Sewerage Service Delivery Reform Development Policy Loan assist the Government of Himachal Pradesh in improving water supply and sewerage services that are financially viable and run by a responsible institution responsive to its customers.
By enhancing service delivery to farming communities and connecting them to agricultural markets, the West Bengal Accelerated Development of Minor Irrigation promotes farmer-led irrigation.
Innovative financing methods are being used for these operations, including the development policy loan in Shimla, program-for-results financing for the National Groundwater Management and Improvement Project and the Swachh Bharat Mission Support Operation, and the use of disbursement-linked indicators for the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project-II.
The World Bank’s analytical work focuses on providing water and sanitation services, among other things. Future financing activities will consider the outcomes.