Our work in Karnataka

Our Role

At the request of the Government of Karnataka, 2030 WRG has been engaged in Karnataka since 2010 to tackle the state’s growing water problems, impacting its largest and most economically significant river basins, Krishna and Cauvery. The 2030 WRG is working to mobilize a process of multi-stakeholder dialogue and action, in order to address major water sustainability issues. By convening key decision-makers across government, the private sector, civil society and development agencies, we plan to target multiple initiatives within the next 2-4 year timeframe. These initiatives will potentially include a combination of: Government policy development to strengthen water resource laws, institutions and policies; collective water action at the sub-basin level, and public-private partnerships designed to address water resource management opportunities. Each of these initiatives will likely integrate work across the urban, industrial and agricultural sectors for a consolidated impact on the water situation in the state. As with other projects, we are also engaged in producing knowledge and data pertinent to the situation and decision-making on the best course of action.

Initially focused on an analytical study of the agricultural sector, the partnership has been expanded to cover a hydro-economic analysis of the urban and industrial sectors in 2013. 2030 WRG is currently working on catalyzing state-wide solutions for agri-water efficiency, particularly in the sugarcane sector, as well as reuse of treated municipal wastewater in industry.


The 2030 WRG has engaged in two now finalized analyses related to Karnataka’s water resource management situation. The first is an agriculture sector study developed by McKinsey together with inputs from the International Corps Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), and Karnataka’s Department of Water Resources. The second is a report on the urban and industrial sectors conducted by Deloitte, and will be published once validated by the 2030 WRG’s Analytical Review Board and the Karnataka Government.

Assembling those most directly affected by and responsible for Karnataka’s water resource management has, to date, taken the form of discussions and meetings to ensure stakeholder participation and alignment. 2030 WRG’s engagement in Karnataka aims at accelerating effective water management in the state through inter-departmental coordination on water resources management, and partnerships for best practice technology promotion, financing, and data-driven systems approaches, in particular across Agri-Water Use Efficiency and Wastewater Reuse.

The sugarcane initiative has the potential to significantly transform the sugar sector. All the imperatives needed to catalyze large-scale solutions for water use efficiency are inherent in program design, in particular stakeholder alignment. The government allocation of $250 million underscores the institutional commitment and will in-turn help mobilize private sector financing and stakeholder commitment. The focus on business benefits is re-aligning subsidies as market-linked policies to incentivize bank finance and driving a paradigm shift in the traditionally subsidy-driven approach for drip adoption. The program is now at the tipping point to consolidate the partnership and move towards implementation.

Our Future

2030 WRG is working with key stakeholder groups in Karnataka to develop and demonstrate successful models for water security in the state. Working on the themes of technology and finance across the agri and urban-industrial sectors, 2030 WRG aims to contribute towards greater water use efficiency and wastewater treatment and reuse, while at the same time, supporting the development of structured implementation arrangements with robust governance mechanisms, capacity building of stakeholders, and monitoring and evaluation systems.