Water is essential for life on Earth. However, only about three percent of Earth's water is freshwater, of that, only about 1.2 percent can be used as drinking water. Some 2.2 billion people around the world do not have safely managed drinking water services; 4.2 billion people do not have safely managed sanitation services, and 3 billion lack basic hand-washing facilities. Thus in many places across the globe, water has become one of the greatest risks to economic progress, poverty eradication and sustainable development.
Gaps in access to water supply and sanitation, growing population, water-intensive patterns of growth, increasing rainfall variability, and pollution has created challenges, which need sustainable mitigation strategies. Water is crucial for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and hence the world needs a fundamental shift in how it understands values and manages water.
In India, water being a State subject, steps for augmentation, conservation and efficient management of water resources are primarily undertaken by the respective State Governments. In order to supplement the efforts of the State Governments, Central Government provides technical and financial assistance to them through various schemes and programmes.
Although, India has 18 per cent of the world’s population, it only possesses 4 per cent of the world’s renewable water resources. In order to better manage the country’s water resources, the Government of India has launched a number of water-saving projects. The Government actively promotes water harvesting, proper distribution of water, water recycling, water governance and awareness generation on efficient water management practices in the country.
For an aspirational nation like India, it is essential to ingrain climate considerations into the vision of its future development path and water resource management forms an essential part of this climate change solution matrix.
As India, one of the fastest growing major economies in the world, gears up to be a ‘climate-ready’ country, we need to make ‘Every Drop Count’! The country’s actionable agenda on water includes ensuring universal access to safe water and sanitation, building water infrastructure, development of sustainable cities, promoting innovation and increasing global water cooperation to name a few.
ICC, as a leading industry association, works proactively in the arena of water security and climate protection initiatives, taking under its fold a wide range of stakeholder interests. ICC feels water stewardship is important for business and both the public and private sector players can gainfully collaborate on this.