​Sufficient annual

Subsidies to promote

​Numerous government
initiatives to improve supply
and access
​​Many successful PPPs to strengthen water treatment, re-use and distribution infrastructure


About 9-10 percent Indians lack basic access to drinking water within or near their homes.


Only 33 percent of India’s urban wastewater is treated, and an even smaller portion is reused. This untreated wastewater is one of the major causes of surface water and groundwater pollution in the country.


India harvests only 8 percent of rainwater (among the lowest in the world. Partly because of this, it consumes over 80% of its available surface and ground water resources each year.


Losses due to defective pipes, leakages, unattended damaged supply pipes, and water theft lead to both access issues and low system revenue. India's non-revenue water is around 38%, higher than the global average.

Indian Water Sector

Vision: Transforming water access, availability and quality

From ~1400-1500 m3 in 2021
>1700 m3
Per capita water availability by 2030
From 27% in 2021-2022
Domestic wastewater treated by 2047
From <30% in 2021-2022
85 - 90%

Waste-Water recycled for municipal, industrial, agricultural purposes by 2047

From ~8% in 2019 - 2020
Rainwater Harvested by 2030

From ~19% in 2021
90 – 100%

Penetration rate of Micro-irrigation systems by 2047

From ~49% in 2022
Access to Drinking Water for All Households by 2047
From 45% in 2021
Degree of Implementation of Integrated Water Resource Management by 2030

From ~35 - 45% in 2020
Non-revenue water %age (by 2047)

Priority Unlocks

What India Inc could do now

Constitute a National Taskforce for Water Sustainability

India Inc. could constitute an independent National Taskforce for Water Sustainability to run a cross-sectoral program for driving sustainable water use, improving distribution efficiency, and promoting water re-use and recycling across the private sector. This taskforce could be constituted under the ambit of an industry body and comprise representatives from water-intensive industries, utilities infrastructure and operators, and engineering solutions companies.

Key actors: Industry bodies such as FICCI, water-intensive industries, and utilities

Invest in supply and treatment technologies

A National Consortium for Water Technologies could drive investments in domestic production for supply-altering technologies, such as desalination and atmospheric water generation, advanced water-treatment technologies, and online monitoring systems for leakage detection, based on next-gen technologies and advanced analytics.

Key actors: National Taskforce for Water Sustainability

Set and adopt water-budgeting standards

To enable companies that share a catchment or watershed basin to collectively quantify and map water use and water risk, a national taskforce could facilitate the creation of a common water stewardship standard (or promote the adoption of existing commonly accepted standards such as the Alliance for Water Stewardship’s International Water Stewardship Standard.

Key actors: National Taskforce for Water Sustainability

Drive down water use in agriculture

India Inc. could help reduce water use in agriculture by sharing know-how among agriculture and food industries of water efficient agricultural practices (e.g., no-till farming), promoting adoption of best-available germplasm (particularly for water-intensive crops such as wheat and rice), driving commitments to market water-efficient alternatives to wheat and rice, such as millets, and scaling up investments in establishing large micro-irrigation setups.

Key actors: Industry bodies like FICCI, Food/Agriculture Associations

How policymakers could help

Establish a market-making body

A making body, modeled after SECI, could promote PPPs and private-sector participation in municipal water supply, distribution, and re-use projects. The key role of this body will be to aggregate demand from various sources, facilitate deals between private infrastructure developers and public sector buyers, reduce financial risk by acting as a credit intermediary, and standardize bidding documents for water projects to include key provisions for enhancing PPP success.

Key actors: Ministry of Jal Shakti

Promote water-efficient agricultural practices

The government could undertake both demand- and supply-side initiatives to drive acreage shift away from water-intensive crops towards water-efficient alternatives. It could launch international outreach programs, introduce PLI schemes, and promote alternative cereals domestically.

Key actors: Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Commerce

Establish sustainability standards

The government could establish measurement standards for initiatives around source sustainability and regeneration and incentivize organizations working beyond compliance. It could also introduce a Blue Awards program to promote water neutrality initiatives across India Inc.

Key actors: Central Water Commission, Ministry of Jal Shakti

Provide visibility to water data

To drive better data-driven water decision-making, the government could spearhead the creation of an Open National Water Database (showing both water supply and demand).

For this, it could establish a water-consumption tracking system, covering all users, watersheds and catchment areas.

Key actors: Central Water Commission, under the aegis of the Ministry of Jal Shakti

Improve billing and collections

State governments could frame policies for metering, volumetric tariffs, and technology standards, covering all industrial and agricultural areas in both cities and villages.

They could also institute variable tariffs, determined based on localized water stress and rate of water depletion, as well as launch performance- or impact-driven payouts to utilities companies for installation of modern supply technologies and digital solutions.

Key actors: State governments

Initiative by
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