The 2030 WRG started its engagement in India through the development of the National Water Resources Framework Study, a report initiated at the request of the erstwhile Planning Commission as a feed into the 12th Five-Year Plan. Simultaneously, it worked on a hydro-economic analysis on the agriculture sector in Karnataka to identify environmentally sustainable and economically viable solutions to the state’s irrigation challenges.
Since then, its partnership has expanded into full-fledged Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MSPs) in the three states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh, as well as strategic and impact-driven engagements at the national level.
The MSP Steering Boards are convened regularly, and the platforms are also used by the Chief Secretaries to initiate collaborative projects cutting across line departments. The 2030 WRG has been valued for its ability to deliver quality outputs to the partners with short turnaround times, related to innovative policies, implementation guidelines, prioritization frameworks, programmatic concepts, and replicable public-private partnership (PPP) models.
The 2030 WRG engagements with the national government continue to remain strong and responsive, building upon the earlier work on PPPs for wastewater treatment and water accounting. The Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) appreciates the 2030 WRG’s expertise in establishing and operationalizing multi-stakeholder partnerships in the water sector. Tapping into 2030 WRG expertise, the national government has expressed keenness to work together and replicate the MSP approach across several states. The 2030 WRG priorities and objectives are also aligned strongly with the priorities of the Water Global Practice of the World Bank, enabling inter-operability and coordination in the three states.
Ultimately, the 2030 WRG works to support, complement, and strengthen the efforts of the partner governments to develop and achieve a water-secure future, and enable a sustainable growth pathway for socio-economic development and environmental protection.
Reservoir Restoration in Bundelkhand
A comprehensive mapping of water reservoirs has been completed for Jhansi to prioritize investments and decision-making to rejuvenate sub-surface water reservoirs and monitor progress.Preliminary assessments indicate the potential for dramatic increases in water access and availability (~50%) with median investments ranging from USD 2,500 to 5,000 per reservoir. Multi-stakeholder workshops have been held in Lucknow, Jhansi, and Bandha with active participation from the government, private sector, civil society, and academia. As a result, design of an integration program is already underway. Collaboration with the Government of Israel is under development for the implementation of an action plan.
Data-driven Dashboards for Decision Support
The government partners in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh requested 2030 WRG support to design and institute data-driven dashboards for monitoring and investment prioritization in urban and industrial water reuse (Karnataka and Hindon) and rain-fed areas (Bundelkhand).
Dashboards that capture performances on a composite set of 100+ indicators have been prepared to track and support decision variables in rain-fed areas of Maharashtra. The indicator set comprises agro-climatic, agronomic, and socio-economic parameters that help optimize crop choice decisions.
In Uttar Pradesh, the 2030 WRG supports the development of a database tracking the investments and activities in Bundelkhand against set targets for water productivity and conservation/storage. The tool provides a single-window solution to track project progress and investment hotspots using a multi-stakeholder approach.
Data harmonization efforts in Hindon, coordinated by the 2030 WRG along with partners such as the Indo-EU Water Partnerships, Netherlands Embassy, and the Urban Development Department of the Government of Uttar Pradesh attempt to improve data quality for regulatory enforcement in the Hindon basin.
Working with the Urban Development Department in Karnataka, the 2030 WRG designed an investment prioritization tool for the water sector. It helps understand three key components, namely the value chain in water, the urban water context and institutions in Karnataka, and the general approach to the preparation of projects. The Urban Development Department will be mainstreaming the tool in future project appraisals for investment in urban water. The tool also includes a set of best cases from global scenarios and has been test run with government-sponsored datasets.
PPPs for Wastewater Treatment in the Ganga Basin
The first PPPs for wastewater treatment and reuse in the Ganga basin have been launched through strong World Bank Group collaboration, addressing one of the flagship projects of the Government of India in the water sector.
The World Bank Group’s engagement in the development of an innovative Hybrid Annuity Model won the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Vice President’s Award in June 2018. The model supports financing and sustainable operations and maintenance of wastewater treatment plants in the Ganga basin with private sector participation. The engagement involved collaboration across the World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC), and 2030 WRG, taking the model from concept to implementation. Under this initiative, the 2030 WRG has played a critical role in changing the mindsets of government leaders about the role that the private sector can play through pioneering PPP transaction models.
The 2030 WRG initiated a PPP demonstration project for the cities of Mathura-Vrindavan through multi-stakeholder discussions and pre-feasibility studies to assess the project scope, partnership approaches, and hybrid annuity-based PPP options for the development of sewage treatment and reuse infrastructure. Additionally, it supported stakeholder consultations on circular economy solutions particularly with the local refinery for reuse of treated wastewater, as well as alignment among different levels of government, namely the central government, the state government, and the municipality.
These catalytic efforts to support a shift in the mindset of key government decision-makers toward PPP solutions, along with parallel engagements of the World Bank Group, resulted in the government retaining the IFC in early 2017 as transaction advisors for the first three PPPs under the national flagship Clean Ganga program in Mathura, Varanasi, and Haridwar.
The government signed the first two concession agreements with private companies in October 2017, with the third one finalized in June 2018.
National Blueprint for Water Accounting
The 2030 WRG was approached by the MoWR to support objective and transparent decision-making on demand-side management of water resources.
The 2030 WRG has supported a blueprint for water accounting in India, aimed at driving water-use efficiency, water quality management, and blended finance and cost recovery principles in the water sector.
Through an extensive multi-stakeholder process, the blueprint was ratified for adoption. A capacity-building module was launched for central government officials from the Central Water Commission, Central Ground Water Board, National Institute of Hydrology, and others based on IHE Delft’s remote sensing technology. Funded by the World Bank’s National Hydrology Project, the training focused on the development of water accounts for the economically significant Cauvery Basin.
The 2030 WRG also supported the development of dashboards and indicators for Ganga industrial and municipal wastewater, partnering with the National Mission for Clean Ganga, the India-EU Water Partnership, and GIZ.
Working in parallel at the basin and sub-basin level, the 2030 WRG’s agenda in India aims to catalyze water solutions in India’s largest river basin, Ganga, as well as adopt a thematic focus on municipal, industrial, and agricultural water sectors. The engagement is expected to lead to the development and demonstration of replicable models for public-private-civil society engagement within the municipal, agricultural, and industrial sectors, linked to the Ganga Rejuvenation Plan, the National Water Mission’s focus on driving water use efficiency by 20% across water users, and the National Water Policy 2012 emphasizing Integrated Water Resources Management, river basin planning, ecological impact assessment, transparency, and benchmarking of water use.
The 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG) is a public, private, civil society partnership that supports country-level collaboration designed to unite diverse groups with a common interest in the sustainable management of water resources.