EPW: From Policy to Practice – Principles of Water Governance

Source: Economic and Political Weekly (EPW)
By ROCHI KHEMKA (rkhemka@ifc.org), Regional Coordinator for Asia at the 2030 Water Resources Group
Posted: December 24, 2016

From Policy to Practice

Principles of Water Governance

The Mihir Shah Committee report lays a solid foundation for restructuring water governance in India. Yet, a few supplementary provisions could reinforce the report’s recommendations, nudging the effort towards improved water resources management.

Water in India is governed as a public good, with evolving yet disjointed awareness of its environmental, social and economic underpinnings. However, effective management of this limited resource requires a nexus approach to governance, which integrates the cause and effect of water on the environment, society and the economy. This necessitates a shift towards hydrological systems thinking and multi-stakeholder approaches. Furthermore, such approaches should be premised on data, knowledge, and information systems, which prioritize economic decision-making, currently missing in the water governance architecture of the country.

The recently submitted report of the Committee on Restructuring the Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) proposes many critical reforms to water governance, particularly on the environmental and social axes of the trinity approach. When coupled with economic prioritization to focus on interventions with the highest benefit-to-cost ratio, particularly in view of fiscal constraints, the newly proposed National Water Commission (NWC) could well deliver on the “paradigm shift” articulated in the Twelfth Five Year Plan (Planning Commission 2012).

Logic of Hydro-logical Thinking

The first step to reform is understanding the challenge, in this case, the hydrological context. The 2030 Water Resources Group (2009) projects a 50% gap between water demand and water supply in India by 2030, amounting to over 755 billion cubic meters (Water Resources Group 2009). With constraints to further supply-side augmentation because of over-abstraction and overuse of water in multiple geographies, demand-side management plays a crucial role in closing this gap.

While accounting for the realities of political and administrative boundaries, there is a need for a greater focus on hydrological and agro-ecological scales to prioritize demand-side management, covering the continuum from sub-watersheds to river basins. The interconnectedness of surface and groundwater systems, on account of the hydrologic cycle, suggests developing integrated, as opposed to fragmented, surface and groundwater emphases. With detailed hydrological mapping, sufficient granularity may be established to cover the aggregation and disaggregation of scales from village-level micro-watersheds to multistate river basins. In other words, the starting point of water governance is a better understanding of water itself.

From Awareness to Strategy Formulation

The hydrological lens of water governance can develop into an operational system when supplemented with the tools of scientific data and analysis. Equipped with these systems, relevant stakeholders can undertake actions needed to counter water scarcity and pollution.

Nonetheless, data availability in India is currently fragmented, scattered across multiple agencies, and inadequate for sound decision-making. Moreover, data gaps exist, in particular, on the interconnectivity of rainwater, surface water, and groundwater, land use, environmental flows, ecosystems, socio-economic parameters, and demographics at the watershed level. Where available, the data is often not accessible.

To foster coordinated action for better demand-side management, ease of data access by all stakeholders is vital, covering real-time data sets, remote sensing technologies, and geographic information systems (GIS), in addition to historical data and projections on water availability and quality. Over and above raw data availability, data points require analysis to feed into information systems, which in turn foster knowledge systems for action at scale. The linkages between data, information, and knowledge systems, encapsulated in user-friendly interfaces, can form the basis for the development of response strategies.

Transparency of Water Flows: Multi-stakeholder Approaches

Data transparency lends itself to collaborative approaches, as also good governance. Governance structures uphold not only transparent mechanisms, but also inclusiveness, equity and accountability.

In view of multiple stakeholders influencing and affected by water flows, spanning farmers, urban communities, industry and government, any governance framework ought to supplement government structures with inclusive and transparent stakeholder processes for joint decision-making to achieve intended objectives. Thus, hydrological mapping and data sharing should be complemented with the establishment of stakeholder councils, and with balanced participation across stakeholder groups. Such councils offer a mechanism for protection of water resources by resolving conflicts between stakeholder groups, and developing a shared vision for the use of water resources to support economic growth, social development and environmental protection. Participatory approaches may be initiated for each river basin at a minimum, ideally with higher coverage for bigger river basins along key tributaries.

Proposed Restructuring

The Committee on Restructuring CWC and CGWB’s report suggests some essential reforms in the water governance framework of the country. Calling for participatory water governance, including aquifer-based approaches, the report rightly centers the restructuring on hydrological lines, proposing that the twin entities be transformed into a new NWC, covering both groundwater and surface water issues.

The NWC’s suggested multidisciplinary approach provides much-needed focus on water challenges outside those currently analyzed by the CWC and CGWB, but which have important implications for water sustainability, such as water quality, urban and industrial water management, and river basin management, among others. It is only through a unified, cross-sectoral approach that aquifer-based governance can offer successful mechanisms for countering groundwater depletion, and for maintaining surface water flows, and water quality. The proposal to establish a knowledge network to guide the NWC’s activities says the necessary apparatus must bring in thought leaders from relevant global and national organizations. This, combined with an ongoing capacity building initiative, promises to mainstream innovation in the DNA of the NWC.

Additionally, the recommendation for data-driven approaches lies at the core of participatory governance, whereby stakeholders are provided the scientific ammunition to assess local water issues for informed decision-making.

While the report lays a solid foundation for restructuring water governance in India, which merit inclusion by the government, a few supplementary pillars can reinforce the recommendations to shift the proverbial needle towards improved water resources management, as outlined below.

Watershed Vision and Planning

A primary step in this direction is the development of watershed vision documents, which highlight key goals for each watershed, prioritizing socio-economic development alongside ecological protection, which is often overlooked in water resources planning. For meaningful transformation, watersheds could be defined at the tributary scale for large river basins, such as the Ramganga and Hindon, or at a minimum of 1,00,000 hectares to promote strategic solutions thinking.

In addition to inputs from the NWC, the development of such watershed visions could crowdsource information from stakeholder councils or platforms, supported by NwC. Stakeholder involvement from the start simplifies the alignment of interests and initiation of actions.

Economic and Integrated Decision-making

Another important pillar of water governance relates to ensuring economically sound and cost-effective solutions. Hydro-economic analysis integrates the costs, benefits, and risks of various solutions, aimed at enhancing the economic productivity of water. Such analyses provide a common language for decision-makers to choose between policy choices and competing investments. For example, 80% of the projected water gap in 2030 can be closed by low-cost agricultural measures, including no-till farming, crop protection technologies, and reducing over-irrigation, among others. These measures obviate the need for expensive, supply-side interventions, such as the construction of dams, interlinking of rivers, and lift irrigation schemes, providing a net surplus both hydrologically and fiscally.

Hydro-economics is most effective in the analysis of opportunity costs. Circular economy solutions, such as recycling and reuse of water, emerge as favored solutions over freshwater abstraction, when economic feasibility is incorporated into hydrological assessments. In particular, integrated decision-making allows for an analysis of synergies and trade-offs between water, agriculture, energy, environment and livelihoods. Accounting for this nexus ensures the economy adopts a sustainable development pathway—socially, economically, and environmentally.

Technological improvements for water use efficiency and waste water management may serve as vehicles to accelerate economically effective transformation.

Governance reform needs to keep pace with technological advancements in agricultural, urban, and industrial water management. The NWC should institute an research and development (R&D) wing, which promotes technology acceleration across sectors in partnership with universities and research organizations. This wing could also work towards necessary financing solutions to promote technology use, mobilizing financial markets funds to supplement government subsidies where a business case for such funding exists. This would be particularly relevant in agriculture, where technology use leads to higher incomes through productivity increase, driving economic growth with water efficiency.

A related aspect links to agricultural market linkages, whereby partnerships with agribusiness companies are established to mitigate growing supply chain risks and reduce the indirect water footprint of agribusiness companies. Public-private-community partnerships are the cornerstone of programs such as Public Private Partnerships for Integrated Agricultural/Horticultural Development (PPP-IAD/PPP-IHD), promoted by the governments of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, among others. Such partnership models provide economic benefits to farmers and supply chain actors, and ensure sustainability of interventions, including effective utilization of the irrigation infrastructure created.

In addition to collaboration across communities and agribusiness companies, partnerships such as these demand cross-departmental government coordination, with the involvement of entities to do with water resources, agriculture, horticulture, rural development, and finance, among others. Early alignment with other departments will integrate the water dimension within agricultural demand-side management, with better upstream linkages to irrigation infrastructure and downstream linkages to markets, providing income enhancement opportunities for farmers. Considering 80% of freshwater is used for agricultural purposes in India, there is a need for systems thinking in the sector for water-efficient growth.

Urban and Industrial Water Business Models

Urban water management suffers from inadequate infrastructure. A staggering 78% of waste water is estimated to be untreated nationally (Center for Science and Environment 2016). Where such infrastructure exists, there is poor operations and maintenance, negating the effect of millions of rupees spent on infrastructure creation.

The proposed NWC Urban and Industrial Water Division could serve as an incubation cell for business models and revenue-generating opportunities, particularly for waste water treatment and reuse, evaluating the financial viability of reuse, proximity of reuse from the point of treatment, as also closed loop models, thereby promoting energy efficiency and nutrient recovery.

With the articulation of policy reform and institutional mechanisms, the crucial next step is supporting the implementation of solutions at scale. Effective implementation requires a combination of, first, behavior change by millions of individual households and farmers, as also industrial players, through decentralized solutions, and second, catalysts to enable such change.

The differentiating factor of catalysts is their transformative agenda, vision, and neutrality. Such development partners are a category distinct from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and often support partnerships across multiple community organizations to implement solutions. The NWC’s partnerships framework would benefit from including international and national catalysts to facilitate scalable solutions.

Effective implementation equally warrants a dedicated financial institution to support large-scale demand-side management and innovative financing—a “National Bank for Water Management,” a National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)-equivalent entity, exclusively mandated to support solutions for water sector transformation. The NWC proposal could brainstorm the creation of such an institution to prioritize water sector financing.

Adapting to (Climate) Change

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report (2016) lists failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation as the most significant risk by impact. The effects of climate change are increasingly recognized through its associated risks of financial, material, and ecological losses. A seminal World Bank report highlights the centrality of water to climate challenge, arguing that, “Achieving nearly every one of the SDGs [sustainable development goals] is dependent on solving the water problem” (World Bank 2016).

Ignoring climate challenge can undermine water sector investments and existing capacities. Addressing the challenge, on the other hand, requires a multi-pronged approach, which goes beyond forecasting climate change events to preparing the agrarian, urban, and industrial economies, as well as ecological functions, to respond to such events. It is estimated that 65% of projected climate change losses may be averted through cost-effective adaptation investments (ECA 2009).

In light of these issues, the NWC’s proposed Water Security Division would benefit from an expansion in role to cover Climate Adaptation. Commencing with vulnerability assessments and scenario modelling, the division’s responsibilities require surpassing such initial analyses to cover the design of effective policies and incentives for long-term climate change-oriented actions, channelization of capital flows to climate-resilient infrastructure, and formulation of appropriate responses to climate events. Although response strategies usually lean towards built or grey infrastructure, there is a growing body of work that highlights the benefits of nature-based solutions, providing ecosystem services along with safeguarding environmental systems.

Impact-based Monitoring

The above arsenal of information and knowledge systems, including climate adaptation tools, together with effective communications instruments, offer the dual advantage of prioritizing action, while providing a framework for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) through standardized metrics. Water governance, thus warrants ongoing M&E for assessing the success of interventions and undertaking corrective measures in case of shortfalls. A gradual move from outputs or rupee-based monitoring towards cubic meters- and impacts-based monitoring is indispensable for the effective design of solutions.

The alignment of science, stakeholders, and economics for governing a country’s water resources is a continuous process. A successful governance blueprint is one that provides the right foundation, along with the flexibility to adapt to changing priorities. This requires a delicate balance of combining top-down policy with bottom-up practice, institutional structures with stakeholder processes, and robust planning with course correction.

Navigating the arc from vision to action starts with recognizing the need for change. And this is where the proposed restructuring of water governance in India provides a welcome opening.


Center for Science and Environment (2016): Down to Earth.

ECA (2009): “Shaping Climate-resilient Development: A Framework for Decision-making.”

Planning Commission (2012): “Faster, More Inclusive and Sustainable Growth,” Vol 1, Twelfth Five Year Plan; http://planningcommission.nic.in/plans/planrel/12thplan/welcome.html.

Water Resources Group (2009): Charting Our Water Future, 2030.

World Bank (2016): “High and Dry: Climate Change, Water, and the Economy.”

– See more at: http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/52/water-governance/policy-practice.html


Innovative mechanism in Peru facilitates public-private partnerships

December 15, 2016 – Works for Taxes (OxI), is an innovative mechanism created in 2009 in the Peruvian State that allows a company to invest directly in public infrastructure, charged to income tax that can be paid annually. In other words, it is an advance of public investment by the private in a state program. In the case of water, this instrument allows the company to help the State directly to close water efficiency gaps.

The 2030 WRG works together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and together with the Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation to encourage the private sector to participate in this mechanism, and at the same time to identify the obstacles and difficulties of the mechanism itself and make it a more agile and efficient process. To this end, it has hired acceleration consultants who work in each of the ministries in that task and who can identify the best investment opportunities.

The OxI mechanism is considered an innovative practice because of the way it links the State and the private sector, and it has also generated the interest of other countries in the region to develop and implement further.

The 2030 WRG negotiations have enabled large private companies such as Backus (beverages) – Ferreyros (construction), Minsur and Antamina (mining companies) to be involved in Tax Works that will generate water infrastructure works with tangible and beneficial results for the communities in the areas in which they operate.


[Spanish below] Innovador mecanismo en Perú facilita las alianzas público-privadas

Obras por Impuestos (OxI), es un innovador mecanismo creado en 2009 en el Estado peruano que permite a una empresa invertir directamente en infraestructura pública, con cargo al impuesto a la renta que anualmente paga. En otros términos, es un adelanto de inversión pública por parte del privado en un programa estatal. En el caso del agua, este instrumento permite a la empresa ayudar al Estado directamente al cierre de brechas de eficiencia hídrica.

2030 WRG trabaja junto al Ministerio de Agricultura y Riego, y junto al Ministerio de Vivienda, Construcción y Saneamiento para alentar al sector privado a participar en este mecanismo, y al mismo tiempo para identificar las trabas y dificultades del propio mecanismo y hacer que sea un procedimiento más ágil y eficiente. Para ello ha contratado a consultores de aceleración que trabajan en cada uno de los ministerios en esa tarea e identificando las mejores oportunidades de inversión.

El mecanismo de OxI es considerado como una práctica innovadora por la forma que permite vincular al Estado y el sector privado, incluso ha generado el interés de otros países de la región por desarrollarlo e implementarlo.

Las gestiones de 2030 WRG han posibilitado que grandes empresas privadas como Backus (bebidas) – Ferreyros (construcción), Minsur y Antamina (mineras) ya estén involucradas en procesos de Obras por Impuestos que generarán obras de infraestructura en agua con resultados tangibles y beneficiosos para las comunidades de las zonas en las que operan.

[Spanish only] Certificado Azul para la promoción de la Huella Hídrica empresarial en Perú

Desde el año 2015, la Autoridad Nacional del Agua del Perú (ANA), viene impulsando a las empresas del sector privado a que realicen la medición y reducción de la huella hídrica en sus procesos y operaciones. Esta iniciativa que vincula estrechamente al Estado y al sector privado hacia una gestión sostenible del agua, tiene el apoyo y respaldo de 2030 WRG en Perú.

Las empresas que participan y ejecutan con éxito los pasos para la medición de su Huella Hídrica, su reducción y su plan de Valor Compartido, reciben el reconocimiento del Certificado Azul. Ello beneficia la gestión y ahorro del agua en sus procesos, muestra su compromiso con este escaso recurso y mejora su reputación.

2030 WRG junto a la ANA propició la realización del evento de lanzamiento del Certificado Azul el 9 de agosto al cual asistieron alrededor de 40 empresas del sector privado interesadas. A partir de allí se han generado reuniones bilaterales para explicar en profundidad sus características y beneficios. Hasta el momento ya se ha logrado que las empresas privadas Mexichem y Duke Energy se inscriban y formen parte de este programa.

2030 WRG sigue promoviendo este espacio privilegiado de acciones público–privadas en todas las instancias de encuentro con el sector privado, inclusive al interior de su Consejo Directivo.

Para mayor información sobre el Certificado Azul, ver el brochure ilustrativo aquí.

Preliminary Market Assessment Launched For Urban Wastewater Public-Private Sector In Bangladesh

bangladesh1Greater Dhaka has been a major engine of growth and prosperity in Bangladesh, representing more than 40% of Bangladesh’s national GDP. The Dhaka Sewage Master Plan (DSMP 2035) area has suffered alarming levels of environmental degradation, which was induced by the rapid growth of the poorly regulated export-based and local industry, agricultural run-off and an overall unplanned and
un-serviced urbanization. As a result, pollutant levels in the groundwater are increasing, and many sections of the rivers and canals in the city and surrounding areas, especially the Buriganga and Sitalakhya, are biologically dead during the dry
season, spurring widespread public concern over sustainability of Dhaka and promoting reaction at the highest political levels.

In the light of the challenges that Dhaka is facing with respect to untreated sewage, the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Dhaka WASA with World Bank/ International Development Association (IDA) support, developed the recently completed DSMP 2035. Its primary goal is to “reduce significantly, and, in the long-term, to eliminate the pollution arising from unhygienic disposal of wastewater, of all industrial, commercial and domestic origin, up to the planning horizon (2035)”. This partnership looked at addressing the sewage and waste water management primarily through public sector investments.

A high level Preliminary Market Assessment (PMA) exercise is being carried out which will lay the groundwork for an investment strategy for industrial and municipal Waste Water Treatment in the Greater Dhaka Watershed (GDW) which covers a geographical area of about 6,700 sq. km. The area includes the watercourses of Greater Dhaka plus the surrounding urbanized areas that are greatly influenced by industrialization. The PMA is being carried out in close collaboration with the relevant World Bank team.

bangladesh2The scoping exercise which will collect key information which will feed into the investment strategy and implementation plan for Waste Water Treatment solutions for the GDW and major WASAs. The PMA aims to provide input into a dialogue with the relevant authorities on the value proposition possibilities of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) or Private Sector Participation (PSP). The PPP/PSP concepts include a) commercial financing for both investments and operation; and b) private operations with public financing. Other options will also be explored which includes different ways to share risks among the public and private sectors.

Water Governance and Institutional Reform in Bangladesh

92% of Bangladesh’s all water resources are external, i.e. entering Bangladesh via trans-boundary waters, resulting in high dependency and uncertainty on future water availability. A large part of the country also suffers from salinity intrusion in water. Of the water that is available, over 90 percent is used for agriculture. Irrigation efficiency in Bangladesh is the lowest in South Asia. Industries such as textile, leather, beverage, chemical, forest products, food manufacturing, utilities, paper products, etc. altogether consume significant amounts of groundwater and create large volumes of polluted discharge.

Water governance issues started getting attention some twenty years ago and a great deal of research and studies were conducted by different government and development agencies since then. However, the recommendations for reforms that resulted from such initiatives failed to get implemented for various reasons, including lack of broad consensus, inter-ministerial-agency coordination and private sector representation. Water Governance in Bangladesh has been the responsibility of a multitude of government bodies who have been largely unsuccessful in coordinated action so far.

The National Water Resource Council (NWRC) is composed of mostly government ministries and agencies and headed by the Prime Minister. Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO) which is the secretariat to the NWRC and its Executive Committee (ECNWRC) has not been adequately resourced to perform as a regulatory agency. The first serious action taken by the agency was development of the Bangladesh Water Act (BWA) which was passed in 2013.

Improving inter-agency coordination is vital for the successful attainment of water reforms. Equally, the private sector plays an integral role in working towards sustainable water management, as not only they are a main water user, they also have the financial resources to have a significant impact on improving the water resources situation.

Given the increasing pressure on water resources, Bangladesh has welcomed the support of 2030 WRG. The government has acknowledged the value proposition of 2030 WRG’s unique multi-stakeholder partnership (MSP) approach which has been endorsement by the highest level of government (The Prime Minister of Bangladesh) to address the water security issues. 2030 WRG would ensure equal representation of the public, private and civil society to steer further work on identified priority areas.

The 2030 WRG, in consultation with the MSP has already adopted multi-focal short to mid-term strategies to tackle initially the most pressing governance challenges. The Water Governance and Sustainability Work-Stream (WGS) under supervision of the National Steering Board (NSB) of the MSP and Chaired by the Senior Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources of the Bangladesh has established two Task Forces (TFs), one each for (a) Institutional Reform and, (b) Economic Incentives for Sustainable Water Management, comprising of experienced sector professionals and stakeholders.

The MSP includes active representation of the private sector and business associations. Recommendations have been taken from the existing study and research work done by various research institutions, academia, donor agencies, and NGOs on how to improve aspects of the regulatory environment. 2030WRG has managed to mobilize stakeholders to take action based on those recommendations. The private sector’s regular and active participation has been instrumental in prioritizing challenging reform agenda items in the multi-stakeholder consultation sessions and thereby bringing in real value to the process.

The WGS work-stream through the two TFs have already developed two Concept Notes, on ‘Strengthening of Institutional Framework’ and ‘Economic Incentives’ for Sustainable Water Management which have been approved by the NSB, and which will now be developed into detailed proposals. The TFs will begin by building and establishment of broad consensus on the nature of the problems faced by the water sector by reviewing and validating the reasons for past failures of previous reform attempts and how they might be overcome. The actionable reforms which the TFs are expected to recommend will be based on a variety of institutional scenarios. This approach to selection of final recommendations is expected to produce maximum impact with least possible disruption.

2030 WRG will continue to promote multi-sector synergies to establish efficient, coordinated and sustainable partnerships, to address the growing concerns behind the long history of failed institutional reform in Bangladesh.

2030WRG, EU Water Experts Collaborate to Diffuse Industrial Water Pollution in Ganga River Basin

The 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG), together with European partners and the Paper Manufacturer’s Association, organized a first of its kind industry workshop in the northern town of Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh (U.P.), September 6, 2016. The objective of the workshop was to share best practices from Europe and India, focussed to address the waste water challenges of the Hindon River, as a demonstration case for the Ganga Basin tributary approach that the 2030WRG is supporting in India.




The workshop brought together global and local experts to discuss the future needs for sustainable water reuse by the local paper and sugar industry.

Speaking about the success of the workshop, Mr. Pankaj Aggarwal, Chairman Muzzafarnagar Paper Manufacturers Association said: “The workshop provided an opportunity for local stakeholders in the water sector in Muzaffarnagar to engage with global experts in waste water treatment, share their challenges and showcase the progress being made in operating existing effluent treatment plants within the paper mills.”

The Ganga River Basin is one of the largest and most polluted river basins in the world today. Flowing through the Yamuna, into the Ganga River, the Hindon tributary is a major source of water for western U.P., India’s most populated state with over 200 million inhabitants. The 300 km long river is heavily polluted with untreated waste water from domestic and industrial sources that include nearly 300 paper and sugar mills. The National Green Tribunal has issued strict orders exhorting the state government to take immediate action to halt the pollution of Hindon River.

The EU has recently signed a MoU with the Government of India to share best practices, technologies and technical cooperation in the water sector. 2030 WRG is helping operationalize the EU-India Water Partnership by creating concrete linkages with stakeholders in the Hindon basin, specifically among European experts in water treatment technologies and processes, to address the challenges of industrial pollution in one of the most polluted towns of the Hindon basin.hindon5

Experts from India, including FICCI, close to 40 local paper and sugar mill owners, Council for Science and Industrial Research, India Water Partnership and SustainAsia shared experiences and challenges. European experts came from UNESCO-IHE, VITO from Belgium, the European Innovation Partnership on Water Reuse and Recycling, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) and Institute of Ecopreneurship. Discussions revolved on leveraging the EU experiences to address the larger challenges facing the future growth and sustainability of the paper mills. Ideas were shared on how the paper industry could comply with the Indian Government’s ‘Zero Liquid Discharge’ charter by April 2017 by reusing and recycling water, possibly for agricultural purposes. The Central Pollution Control Board, in consultation with the local industries, developed this charter to help reduce the untreated industrial discharge into the Ganga Basin.

As a follow up to the workshop 2030 WRG, the EU Indigo Policy project, FICCI and Muzaffarnagar Paper Manufacturer’s Association are developing a demonstration project to help reduce the industrial water consumption and discharge into the river. This project is expected to contribute to the wider knowledge base and industry responses from about 200 pulp and paper factories spread across the Ganga Basin. Lessons will apply to other industrial sectors that are facing stringent pollution control requirement.




Working on waste water reuse for Ulaanbaatar

An agreement with the Ministry of Environment and Green Development, signed in 2013, paved the way for 2030WRG to conduct a Hydro-Economic Analysis (HEA) to examine the water demand and supply in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. Alarmingly, there is a projected water demand-supply gap by the year 2030 due to which, all the stakeholders have shown a sense of urgency to work together on this issue.

As per the analysis, with 43% of the total water demand (92 mn m3/yr) in Ulaanbaatar is estimated to not be met with given supplies in the high demand scenario. The Analysis brought about tremendous learnings regarding the situation, as it helped identify cost-effective water demand reduction solutions and water supply alternatives. The water supply and wastewater infrastructure is in need of a major overhaul in order to meet the current demand and protect the environment.

In the current scenario, Wastewater reuse has been shown to be less expensive than primary supply augmentation, particularly where wastewater network systems and treatment plants are planned and designed for reuse in this region. Wastewater reuse was included as a measure in the Ulaanbaatar City Master Plan 2030.

Various stakeholders such as Ulaanbaatar Development Corporation (UBDC), National Secretariat of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and Invest Mongolia Agency are currently exploring projects and programs for wastewater reuse in the city, and are considering Public Private Partnership (PPP) amongst other options. With the planned upgradation and capacity augmentation of the Centralized Wastewater Treatment Plant (CWWTP) in Ulaanbaatar with tertiary-level water treatment, there is significant potential for re-using treated wastewater.

As per our country representative, Dorjsuren Dechinlkhundev, “Working on waste water reuse for Ulaanbaatar is critical as the demand of water is drastically expanding. Every day, the effluence of treated but polluted waste water from old and outdated waste water treatment facilities into the Tuul is polluting the river and threatening the environment (downstream). Reusing waste water is essential to the development of industry clusters in the region and surroundings.”

A concept note on 2030 WRG working to achieve substantially more municipal wastewater reuse in Ulaanbaatar, particularly by industry, through the development of a comprehensive policy framework, developing capacity, and facilitating the setting up of processes and mechanisms to implement relevant wastewater reuse projects has been developed and accepted by the Steering board of the 2030WRG on 6 October 2016.

The Policy Document aims to synthesize global best practices, applicable to Ulaanbaatar. The focus is to develop a targeted policy that provides incentives for wastewater use. Many industrial operations are able to access water from other alternatives and cost considerations relate to the tariff for water supply. Therefore, whereas the policy enforcement as well as a higher cost per unit of water within the city could be a deterrent, a realistic solution could consider some form of incentive mechanism as well. The policy aims to bring together wastewater producers (STPs) and off-takers of treated wastewater like the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Construction and Urban Development, UB City Govenor’s Office, Ulaanbaatar Water Supply and Sewerage Authority, large-scale industries and industrial zones/estates.

A project Facility is envisioned in the concept note, to develop transactional capacity amongst the relevant government departments to conceptualize and negotiate wastewater reuse initiatives, design transactions and implement PPP projects. The Facility will also structure appropriate financing mechanisms.

2030 WRG conducts high-level overview assessment of the Vietnam water sector

After receiving a positive response from the local stakeholders on its approach, 2030 WRG is conducting a high-level overview assessment of the VietnamVietnam1 water sector.

The assessment will cover the overall water resources situation, including a high-level water demand-supply analysis and identify solutions required to optimize the use of water. It will also cover mapping of stakeholders/ Institutional arrangements. Further, the assessment will evaluate existing and upcoming funding models to close the water gap.Vietnam is among the top five countries most vulnerable to climate change impacts. Vietnam has 2360 rivers. The country’s river network includes several vietnam3international rivers. Two thirds of Vietnam’s water originates outside the country. Sustainable water management is fast on the rise driven by dramatic increases in water demand from growing urbanization, agriculture and industrial growth, combined with pollution from untreated waste water as a key issue in Vietnam’s socio-economic development.

In Vietnam, 2030 WRG aims to accelerate water sector transformation with regard to water security for long-term economic growth, environmental as well as domestic needs
and shared prosperity, with a focus on improved demand-side management involving public, private and civil society stakeholders across agriculture, industry and urban development.

A kick-off workshop on a high-level Vietnam Water Sector Analysis, was convened by Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development (“MARD”) and 2030 Water Resources Group (“2030WRG”) on October 14th, 2016. The workshop was a small roundtable of 12-15 participants, focused on structuring
a multi-stakeholder Advisory Board of to guide next steps of the Analysis. The discussion focused on key Vietnam water sector challenges and priorities, including private sector perspectives, which are being prioritized under 2030WRG’s Vietnam Water Partnership.

After the analysis is done and based on response from various stakeholder, 2030 Water Resource Group will build up a Multistakeholder process and structure thematic work streams to tackle key issues.vietnam4vitnam2

Innovative irrigation financing for smallholder farmers key to Kenya’s water-smart future

by PS Patrick Mwangi

Ministry Water and Irrigation


There is no disputing the importance of agriculture to Kenyan livelihoods and our economy. In 2014, Kenya imported food worth KES 114 billion. This figure is expected to increase to KES 200 billion by the end of 2016. Agriculture contributes approximately 28 percent of GDP, employs 75 percent of the national labor force and accounts for 65 percent of the country’s total exports. If we are serious about realizing our Vision 2030 goal of increasing agricultural production in the face of the country’s low water endowment, growing population and changing climate, we must focus our attention on two of the sector’s greatest contributors—water and smallholder farmers.

While we may agree upon the importance of water to our lives, we may not fully appreciate its fleeting nature if we do not manage our resources responsibly. If we maintain a business as usual approach to the way we manage our water resources, by the year 2030, Kenya will see a 30 percent gap between available water supply and demand. Expanding our agricultural production will therefore require we better manage our water resources to close this gap. Understanding how such resources are currently being used helps us decide the best way forward.

The agricultural sector is the largest user of water in Kenya. Of available water supply, about 60 percent of the country’s fresh water is used for agriculture. If we wish to expand the sector, it is imperative we work to improve agricultural water productivity by looking at water efficient technologies and practices. Given that less than 20 percent of Kenya’s arable land is suitable for rain fed agriculture, irrigation schemes, which currently cover only 2.4 percent of arable land, provide a more suitable solution.

We must therefore introduce farmers to new techniques, such as drip and sprinkler irrigation where appropriate. What many of us may not realize is that roughly 75 percent of Kenyan agricultural output is produced not by large scale agricultural companies, but by smallholder farmers. The role of these smallholders is therefore critical to attaining our goals.

While many larger companies have the resources to make their businesses more water efficient by investing in smarter irrigation systems, the majority of smallholders do not. Access to financing for the agriculture sector in Kenya, often perceived as risky, is extremely limited. A few banks and non-bank financial institutions, such as Barclays Bank, Equity Bank, Sidian Bank, formerly K-REP Bank, KCB, One Acre Fund and Umati Capital however, have taken initial steps to close the gap. These institutions are working to encourage investment in irrigation through traditional guarantees, supply chain financing, and group lending.

Compounding the lack of access to finance, is still reluctance and/or an inability on behalf of smallholder farmers to embrace more efficient irrigation technology. Further understanding of the benefits of efficient irrigation technologies and available options through capacity building is still needed to make this a reality. Successful interventions will therefore require an ecosystem approach that includes building awareness, developing financing mechanisms and connecting farmers to inputs and markets.

Invited by the government to help close the projected water gap, the Kenya 2030 Water Resources Group is a public-private-civil society partnership working with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation to build on these early financing initiatives. The Kenya 2030 WRG is working on developing national partnerships and structures with government, farmers, banking institutions, aggregators and equipment providers to encourage more lending to commercial smallholder farmers and prove market readiness.

Initial steps may include the use of bank guarantees, innovative blended finance mechanisms, or direct lending to non-bank financial institutions. Scaling-up investment will, however, require partnerships among stakeholders in the value chain.

Leveraged properly, innovative financing for smallholder farmers will emerge as a keystone to Kenya’s water-smart future.

Hindon Yatra Exhibiton & Symposium 2016 in Baghpat


In Baghpat the District Magistrate and Chief Development Officer spearheaded a Water Walk on 9 September,2016  attended by more than 2000 youth. Mr. Rajendra Singh, Waterman of India and Stockholm Water Prize Laureate 2015 was special guest at the Hindon Yatra Exhibition & Symposium held in his ancestral town. Youth demonstrated their environmental awareness and concern with the water situation in the Hindon basin. In a technical discussion chaired by District Magistrate and moderated by 2030 Water Resources Group in the afternoon, many good practice examples were presented and constructive suggestions were made to improve the situation and work towards a healthier water system. For example, Mr. Vinod Saini, a progressive farmer from Meerut district said, “It is essential to reduce the use of chemical fertilizer, in place of which a natural vermi compost fertilizer can be used.” Farmers from Baghpat may attend a training in organic farming which will be organized by Jal Biradari Meerut. Another suggestion was to make a cropping map and encourage farmers to conserve water either by changing the cropping cycle or increasing water use efficiency.



Photos from the Baghpat event

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Read the minutes from the Baghpat event