Karnataka’s Multi-stakeholder Platform
The analysis shows agricultural water use efficiency as the most cost-effective way to save water. Therefore, a key focus of the Karnataka program is to help the government implement measures that transform the agriculture sector from highly inefficient flood irrigation to other modes of irrigation. Alternative measures include treatment and reuse of water from large urban centers, not only reducing overall demand for freshwater but also reducing pollution released to rivers.
2030 WRG is currently working on catalyzing state-wide solutions for:
(1) Improving water efficiency in the sugarcane sector
2030 WRG is supporting agri-water efficiency in canal command areas through partnership models of government with agribusiness companies, banks, input/ technology providers and farmers. The first such engagement involves a state-wide initiative to promote drip irrigation in sugarcane, where 2030 WRG is collaborating with sugar mills, financial institutions, the farming community and the government to develop innovative financing and implementation models. A multi-stakeholder Facilitation and Monitoring Group is expected to provide strategic guidance and overview to the engagement. The initiative will contribute towards water use efficiency at scale, while developing replicable frameworks for market-driven solutions and public-private-community participation models. Interventions in the sugar sector are highly relevant both from scale and efficiency perspectives. The sector has a large water footprint, supports 700,000 farmers, covers around 430,000 hectares with an annual output of 4 million tons, and, as a consequence of the farm to mill ecosystem, has many more livelihoods dependent on it. If all sugarcane farmers in the state start using drip irrigation, they could reduce their water abstraction by 2.6 billion m3 – an estimated 10 percent of the state’s projected gap between water demand and supply in 2030. Facilitating the interaction between the key private sector stakeholders, along with the requisite government and farmer linkages, 2030 WRG‘s initiative has resulted in unlocking finance, a key constrain to technology adoption, including the following points of progress: Government allocation of $250 million through the state budget, Multi-stakeholder inputs for the government policy implementation guidelines, and Development of first set of Detailed Project Reports.
(2) Wastewater Reuse
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 conjunction with the Urban Development Department, 2030 WRG is working on identifying Public-Private Partnership (PPP) opportunities, including bringing in best practice technology solutions and financing models, for circular economy solutions within the urban and industrial sectors. The engagement aims to establish a Knowledge Cell on Wastewater Reuse in the state to strengthen the state’s capacity for systematically identifying and implementing opportunities for wastewater reuse. Grounded in economic analysis, 2030 WRG is engaging with Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board (KUWS&DB) to develop tools for assessing the cost-economics of wastewater reuse from municipalities to industry, coupled with capacity building of stakeholders. In tandem with the aim of establishing a Knowledge Cell on Wastewater Reuse in the state, the engagement will strengthen the state’s capacity for systematically identifying and implementing opportunities for wastewater reuse. In addition, a policy framework co-developed with Directorate of Municipal Administration will provide the necessary impetus to incentivize wastewater reuse in the state. The 2030 WRG is preparing pilot projects in the cities of Tumkur and Bellary in partnership with the state government.