The Kenya Industrial Water Alliance (KIWA) recently organized a peer-2-peer learning exchange visit supported by 2030 WRG and GIZ-IWASP to share a unique best practice.
Red Lands Roses is a medium-sized flower farm producing roses exclusively for export. The company has invested in water-efficient technologies and operational approaches to reduce the volume of new water abstracted each day by recycling nearly all the water that is not either consumed or evaporated. Likewise, the minimal waste water produced is bio-organically treated before being released back into the environment.
See below a short video story on the visit:
The Kenya 2030 Water Resources Group Governing Board unanimously endorsed two project proposals within the industrial and urban water management workstreams aimed at improving reliable data collection of industrial water-use and addressing the challenge of non-revenue water (NRW), respectively. Following several months of bilateral engagements with stakeholders, the proposals outline fresh approaches to two intractable water management challenges: how to incentivize industries to invest in water conservation and efficiency technologies, and how to reduce national non-revenue water rates of up to 45%.
The economic growth targets laid out in Kenya’s Vision 2030 and President Kenyatta’s “The Big Four” agenda take for granted the long-term dependable availability of adequate and sufficient water resources – but this isn’t a given. Industry’s water demand is estimated to increase by 140% by 2030 amid a growing supply and demand gap that is projected to reach 63% in Nairobi by 2035.
Despite the sobering projections, making the business case for industries to invest in water conservation is a challenge for policymakers. Water is often perceived as cheap and its scarcity risks are not well understood. The challenge is complicated further by the lack of reliable data on industrial water-use. The little data that does exist is scattered among various institutions and not accessible at an aggregated level for decision making.
To overcome this, KIWA, in partnership with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), the Water Resource Authority, and the Ministry of Industrialization, proposes to develop a browser-based platform to improve reporting, data collection, and benchmarking of industrial water use. By aggregating water utilization across industrial processes leading up to the discharge, the project aims to create more awareness about companies’ own performance with regards to local and international water-use benchmarks and hence be a driver for efficiency; provide a valuable source of information for planning and regulation authorities and water allocation plans; and deliver a sound foundation for evidence-based decision making and policy formulation.
Leveraging technology & innovative financing approaches to reduce urban non-revenue water (NRW)
Despite significant efforts, national NRW levels have stagnated between 42-45% throughout the last 10 years. The high level of physical and commercial water losses costs the country about KES 8 billion annually. Building on the experiences from blended financing and the on-going National Performance-Based Financing (N-PBF) initiative, the urban water management workstream project aims to support utilities in adoption of Performance Based Contracts (PBC) as a new approach to reduce NRW in partnership with private sector.
In a PBC approach, a private company is contracted to carry out a comprehensive program to cut water losses and is paid based on the performance achieved, while the ownership of the system remains in public hands. PBCs have proven to be 68% more effective than in-house NRW reduction programs, and proof-of-concept projects abound in locations ranging from the Bahamas, to Vietnam, to Bangkok, to Brazil.
A new approach with Performance Based Contracts
While PPPs can be applied through the entire water supply value chain ranging from abstraction, treatment and distribution, the PBC approach is being proposed to address NRW for urban water service providers (WSP) in Kenya because of three key reasons: first, reducing NRW offers a “cheaper” way of getting new water supply. Reducing both physical and commercial losses of water already in the distribution network delays the need for developing additional sources by optimizing what’s already treated and made available to consumers in the distribution network. Second, reducing NRW will contribute to the utility’s financial viability by maximizing revenues which support struggling WSPs to eventually climb up the creditworthiness ladder. And third, reducing NRW improves 24/7 reliability in water supply to consumers.
Moreover, PBCs-for-NRW reduction are an effective means of maximizing finance for development by structuring the joint ventures in such a way that the private party finances the NRW reduction investments up-front through own equity or a commercial loan or debt arrangements with local banks. The concept note proposes to identify and support preparation of 3-5 demonstration PBCs for PBC- NRW project design.
The proposals were put before the board during its second bi-annual meeting of 2018, chaired by the Hon. Simon Chelugui and Mr. Richard Fox, Chairman of the Kenya Flower Council and Director Sustainability with Flamingo Horticulture, standing-in for Mr. Vimal Shah. The board approved the projects to proceed according to the plans detailed in the concept notes, and has committed to support the initiatives in mobilizing political champions at national government and county governments levels.
By Karin Krchnak, 2030 WRG Program Manager
Over the past fifteen years, I have seen a rapid evolution in corporate actors in recognizing water risks to their operations. In response, some have taken measures to ensure that all water is returned to its originating watershed while making sure that returned water is as clean or cleaner than it was before. But to keep the momentum going, we need to think about how we can encourage and motivate companies that will push them to collaborate more with governments, other companies, and civil society toward realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Equally as important, we need to bring forward those companies that unfortunately have yet to prioritize water.
The positive feelings that come from rewarding good behavior are natural in humans. In fact, such feelings can do wonders. I see it every day with my own daughter; when she does well and gets recognition, she feels like she wants to, and can, do more.
In 2016, the 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG) and its partners created the Blue Certificate, an initiative that is one of the workstreams of Peru 2030 WRG’s multi-stakeholder platform (MSP). Led by Peru’s National Water Authority (ANA), the program encourages companies in the private sector to assess the water footprint of their processes and become water-responsible companies.
Peru is a beautiful and amazing country with lush mountains and forests. But you do not have to go far out of Lima to see that it is water stressed. In fact, Peru ranks among the top 30 countries that suffer from chronic water stress. Approximately USD45.7 billion in investments are required by 2035 to meet Peru’s water needs. As is the case everywhere in the world, public finances can only do so much, and the private sector can play a transformational role in closing this infrastructure financing gap. It is therefore unsurprising that many governments stood up in 2015—when the SDGs were being adopted in New York City—and said that companies in the private sector are needed if we were to meet the SDGs by 2030.
It makes me so proud that in 2016 the Peruvian government and 2030 WRG co-developed the Blue Certificate program, whereby companies are awarded the Blue Certificate if they fulfill three criteria: (1) develop a Water Footprint Assessment following ISO 14046; (2) commit and accomplish water footprint reductions; and (3) set out and implement a program of shared value with the communities in the watersheds they work in.
I had the honor of joining the recent Award Ceremony in Lima, Peru, on 7th November when Compañía Eléctrica El Platanal S.A., Compañía Minera Coimolache S.A. (Buenaventura Group), Nestlé Perú, and Mexichem Perú were awarded the Blue Certificate. Four additional companies also received recognition for applying for the certification process. Fabiola Munoz Dodero, Peru’s Minister of Environment, spoke at the event, and highlighted the role the program plays in driving action for healthier watersheds in Peru. It is this kind of recognition by governments of the private sector’s role in improving water resources that gives me hope that we can make progress toward the SDGs.
But recognition must fundamentally be about results if we want to ensure that our water resources will, in fact, be better in 2030 in comparison with our current situation. To date, the Blue Certificate has resulted in a reduction of approximately 79 million liters of freshwater use per year and a reduction of approximately 137 million liters of non-treated wastewater discharge. Thirteen companies have already presented their Shared-Value Projects in: (i) efficient domestic water use; (ii) rural irrigation improvement; (iii) wastewater reuse in public spaces; (iv) and promoting a water conservation culture. The projects are expected to reach approximately 9,000 direct beneficiaries and 20,000 indirect beneficiaries. In addition to a focus on results, there needs to be a way for companies to keep active and motivate others. At the 7th November Awards Ceremony, Mexichem—the first company to be awarded the Certificate—renewed their commitment. Through this renewal process, I hope other companies will see that they too can make a difference in making their country more water secure and thereby their own operations more sustainable.
In the past, I have heard people say that there are too many competing initiatives in water. My first thought is often “really?” For a challenge as big and complex as water resources management, it makes sense to welcome the participation of every company—and other stakeholders—that wish to become better stewards of our shared water resources.
There is no silver bullet to solve our water problems. But if we can find a way to harness the passion and energy of everyone and bring together our efforts in true collaboration, we can create meaningful change. In closing, I would like to invite every company that wants to become more water responsible to learn more about what 2030 WRG can do to help them achieve that goal.
Photo credits: COSUDE
The Ministry of Water convened over 100 stakeholders in Dar Es Salaam mid-November for the second meeting of the annual Multi-Sectoral Forum for National Water Resources to chart a path towards the development of water-smart infrastructure to support sustainable growth in Tanzania. The forum, which brings together senior leaders from government, business, research institutions, and civil society, is the outcome of sustained collaboration between Tanzania 2030 Water Resources Group (WRG) and the Ministry of Water to bridge the coordination gap between the various authorities engaged in water resources management (WRM). Launched in October 2017, it aims to foster collaboration for the development of a more efficient and sustainable WRM sub-sector and unlock opportunities for expanding business and improving local livelihoods through strengthened engagement with the private sector.
Sufficient and reliable supply of water will be necessary to expand the manufacturing sector, increase hydropower generation and intensify agricultural production in line with the nation’s goal of achieving middle-income status by 2025. Despite having abundant water resources, extreme hydrological variability means that during dry periods demand for water exceeds available supply by 50%. Under a business-as-usual scenario and factoring-in economic growth projections, demand will exceed supply twice over during dry periods come 2035.
Offer tangible infrastructure support
Developing the necessary water infrastructure to expand the amount of land under irrigation, improve industrial water use, and increase hydropower production is a priority, said Eng. Mbogo Futakamba, Chairperson of the National Multi Sectoral Forum on Water Resources Management. There is a “need to spend as much resources to offer communities with tangible infrastructure support as is on capacity building, formation of institutions and other forms of software support that we have thankfully received from our partners” he said.
Over the course of the two days, the government emphasized the benefits of increased private sector participation to accelerate the development of infrastructure projects in the sub-sector and highlighted the Integrated Water Resources Management and Development Plans (IWRMDPs) as the key vehicle to guide policy and investment in infrastructure development to deliver water-security for people, business, and the environment.
Accelerating delivery of projects
To support the financing and delivery of initiatives included the nine basin-level IWRMDPs, four dedicated working groups on IWRMDP implementation, irrigation financing for smallholder farmers, water stewardship standards, and catchment-level dialogue will be established. In addition to coordinating the working groups, Tanzania 2030 WRG will work closely with private sector participants to identify and take advantage of opportunities to play a more active role in accelerating delivery of IWRMDP projects.
Increased access to irrigation solutions
During the event, Tanzania 2030 WRG provided updates on the progress of a flagship Irrigation Financing Initiative that it developed through the national multi-stakeholder partnership. If its full ambition is realized, the initiative will see a substantial increase in smallholder farmer’s access to irrigation solutions. This will be achieved by firstly, identifying and incubating qualifying irrigation projects so that they are ready for financing by the public and private sector; and second, improving stakeholder coordination in smallholder agricultural value chains which are damaged by high transactional costs that ultimately lead to market failure.
Pilot to increase productivity and decrease water abstraction
The project leverages 2030 WRG’s extensive network of public and private stakeholders to identify, prioritize, incubate, and package irrigation financing opportunities that meet the requirements of funding sources from the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) under its Rural Innovation Fund (RIF) program. A planned pilot project will incubate 30 irrigation projects, each targeting 100 farmers, over a three-year period. It is expected that farmers reached would increase their productivity by 30 percent while simultaneously decreasing water abstraction by 50 percent.
Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Water Eng. Emmanuel Kalobelo called on attendees to work together to support the realization of the IWRMDPs.
“Projects identified in those Plans will only bear fruit with a joint effort of cross-sectoral collaborations and stakeholders participation” said Kalobelo. Their successful implementation “will affect nations’ plans for transformational development” and should be pursued “without further delay” he said.
Tanzania 2030 WRG has been working with the Ministry of Water on strengthening collaborative approached to water management in Tanzania since 2013. Together, Tanzania 2030 WRG and the ministry have fostered various national and catchment-level water stewardship and agricultural water efficiency initiatives to facilitate access to irrigation financing, promote water stewardship standards, improve catchment governance and restoration, and raise awareness around sustainable water management. Tanzania 2030 WRG looks forward to continued collaboration on the path to achieving water security for all.
2030 WRG Regional Communications Officer Africa
2030 WRG Global Communications Officer
Washington DC, USA
The World Bank Group’s engagement on 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 & maintenance (O&M) of wastewater treatment plants in the Ganga basin with private sector participation. The engagement involved collaboration across World Bank, IFC and 2030WRG, taking the model from concept to implementation. Under this initiative, the 2030WRG has played a critical role in changing the mindsets of government leaders towards the role that private sector can play through pioneering PPP transaction models.
For a long time, public sector programs have failed to deliver the required impacts for Ganga rejuvenation. As a paradigm shift, the government is inviting private sector to deliver performance assurances for municipal wastewater treatment through innovative Public Private Partnership (PPP) mechanisms.
PPP demonstration project
In 2015, the 2030 WRG started collaborating with the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation (MOWR) in India to develop partnerships with the private sector and civil society for wastewater solutions in the Ganga basin. 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 amongst different levels of government, namely central government, state government and the municipality.
These catalytic efforts, supporting a shift in mindset of key government decision-makers towards 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 (Mathura, Varanasi and Haridwar) under the national flagship Clean Ganga program. The advisory team launched a competitive bidding process with the final funding structure, balancing public and market risks, which resulted in strong market response and multiple bids. The government signed the first two concession agreements with private sector companies in October 2017, with the third one inked in June 2018.
Under the chosen Hybrid Annuity model*, the government pays 40 percent of the project cost linked to construction milestones. The remaining 60 percent is paid over 15 years as annuities to the private concessionaire along with operation and maintenance expense. In addition to enhancing project viability for the concessionaire, the performance-linked payments ensure longevity of wastewater assets.
“2030WRG has played a strong catalytic role in unlocking PPPs for wastewater treatment in the Ganga.”
Dr. Amarjit Singh, Ex-Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (retired in Dec 2017)
First PPPs in the water sector
As the first PPPs in this sector, these projects represent a significant paradigm shift towards sustainable, PPP-based wastewater treatment business models in India. Building upon the momentum and the consensus created, the government has sanctioned additional PPP projects in the Ganges basin, leveraging the existing US$1 billion World Bank loan to mobilize private capital. Under its MOU with MOWR, 2030WRG has also supported water accounting frameworks to prioritize water efficiency and wastewater treatment and reuse, triggering a move from a linear to a circular economy.
8,000 million liters untreated wastewater per day
The Ganga basin, which covers more than a quarter of India’s land, is home to 450 million people. Population growth and rapid urbanization have placed unprecedented stress on water resources, leading to seasonal water shortages and water pollution. Estimates suggest that 8,000 million liters per day of untreated wastewater flows directly into the River Ganga.
“The first wave of wastewater PPPs for the Ganga basin exemplify World Bank Group collaboration, building upon World Bank’s overall PPP framework, 2030WRG’s stakeholder engagement process and IFC’s transaction advisory support.”
Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, India, World Bank
Glossary of terms
*A hybrid annuity is a type of insurance contract that allows investors to allocate funds to fixed-rate and variable annuity components as part of the same investment vehicle. Most hybrid annuities allow investors to choose how they want to allocate assets.
*An annuity is a financial contract written by an insurance company that provides for a series of guaranteed payments, either for a specific period of time or for the lifetime of one or more individuals.
This year’s event was centered around the theme of “Water, ecosystems and human development”, and brought together about 4,000 individuals and over 350 convening organizations. The World Bank Water Global Practice delegation led and participated in over 50 sessions focusing on priority lines: Sanitation, Resilience, Inclusion, Partnership (2030 WRG), Finance/MFD and Innovation. In addition, bilateral meetings were held with several organizations and partners. Our participation continued to position the 2030 WRG, World Bank Group and the Water Global Practice as a lead provider of financial, advisory and knowledge services globally to the water community.
Stockholm Water Week provided a great opportunity to disseminate the WBG’s technical and knowledge work, deepen our external partnerships with governments, private sector and civil societies, and strengthen our Multi-donor Trust Funds. In addition, we continued to advance the action agenda of the High Level Panel on Water and engage further with UN agencies.
Highlights from the week:
- A 2030 WRG Steering Board Meeting was held, co-chaired by Jennifer Sara, WB Water GP Director, the agenda included discussion on: the positive transition from IFC to World Bank for the MDTF; the 2030 WRG work program for FY19; the development of a communications strategy and materials; deep dives into 2030 WRG activities in Africa, LAC and Asia (South and East); updates on staffing and budgeting; process of expansion to other countries/states; and new areas of strategic engagement in the resiliency agenda of UNSG 2019 climate summit. The Steering Board endorsed the 2030 WRG workplan and key leadership areas for FY19.
- The team conducted s session on “2030 WRG: Multi-Stakeholder Approaches to Innovation and Impact” with approximately 100 participants. The session included presentations by 2030 WRG partners on industrial water use efficiency (Kenya), innovative sustainable PPP for wastewater treatment and reuse (Bangladesh), and innovative groundwater management and monitoring tariff system (Peru). The participants divided into 3 groups to discuss: (1) enabling factors necessary or conducive to implementing sustainable multi-stakeholder approaches; potential barriers or challenges that exist to implementing this type of multi-stakeholder approach; and strategies that can be used to overcome each of these. These inputs will be used in 2030 WRG global/regional/national work programs and expansion discussions going forward. 2030 WRG’s work on the gender-water-agri nexus was also presented.
- Co-hosted with SIWI a “Business Leaders Breakfast: Valuing Water: What is your value proposition and how do you operationalize it?” Approximately 38 business leaders attended and discussed risk mitigation options and the business case for water valuation, including: how is valuing water connected to your company’s value proposition; how do operationalize valuing water in your company; and how do you operationalize valuing water within your industry/sector and with other companies.
- Co-convened with CEO Water Mandate, the Alliance for Water Stewardship, World Business Council on Sustainable Development, WWF and GIZ a session on “Water Stewardship: Partnership and Financing Models for Scale.” Several partnership activities were shared in plenary and then participants broke into roundtables to discuss stewardship initiatives in Asia, Africa, LAC and globally.
- The 2030 WRG team was also visible at various other sessions as presenter at the “Evolution of Water Stewardship” session on the evolution of the Alliance for Water Stewardship, session moderator for a session on “Innovative Financing for Ecosystem Management,” aimed at accelerating new funding models for ecosystem services. Also several bilateral private sector and NGO partner meetings were held to discuss potential and ongoing collaboration in various countries of engagement.
- 2030 WRG also supported a Water GP-wide reception. Collaboration with our new host department also included coordinating and sharing a joint booth at the SIWI expo, that was very visible and well-visited by sector colleagues, academics, young professionals, and representatives from government, private sector, and NGOs.
See below some snaps from the week
4 October 2018 – South Africa’s Strategic Water Partners Network (SWPN) – the national multi-stakeholder partnership established by 2030 Water Resources Group in 2011 – co-hosted the 4th Annual Water Stewardship Conference in Sandton, South Africa, on 4th October 2018. The annual event showcased examples demonstrating how investing in South Africa’s water sector creates jobs, spurs local economic development, and delivers a host of social benefits ranging from improved water quality to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
SWPN, together with GIZ/International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP), the National Business Initiative (NBI), and the Royal Danish Embassy convened over 130 senior representatives from the water sector including senior officials from government, industry, finance, civil society and development organizations. Attendees explored how best to leverage the full potential of investments in the water sector amid an ongoing water-shortage crisis, slow-growth economy, and R33 billion a year funding shortfall over the next ten years for the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan (NWSMP).
Reprioritization to support job creation and investments
“Only by working together to tackle prioritized challenges can the water sector ensure that South Africa will indeed be ‘Ready for the Future and Ahead of the Curve’” said Trevor Balzer the Deputy Director General Department of Water and Sanitation, referencing the collaborative approach that was promoted by President Ramaphosa during the launch of the Economic Stimulus and Recovery Plan, which pursues, among other priorities, the reprioritization of public spending to support job creation and investing in municipal social infrastructure improvement.
Catalyst for local economic development
Case studies featured during the event showed how strategic investments in the water sector could be deployed to unlock additional economic opportunities without additional spending. A study of a municipal-level groundwater management scheme in Blouberg Local Municipality, for example, used the project’s financial data to create a model that mapped project expenditure alongside various socio-economic outcomes. The results suggested that restructuring current expenditures to shift spending away from capital outlays and into operation and maintenance of existing groundwater schemes can act as a catalyst for local economic development.
“The starting point is how can we make existing resources go further? Between us, as local and international public and private sector, national government, and local partners, we have the capacity to make this happen” said Jørgen Erik Larsen, Counsellor for Water, Energy, Research and Innovation at the Royal Danish Embassy. “We need to invest more in operations and maintenance with a “fix it first” approach,” rather than focusing exclusively on delivering new infrastructure.
Martin Ginster, Sasol’s Head of Environment: Water, Waste, Land, and Biodiversity and member of the SWPN leadership said: “Already we are seeing that the public and private sectors in South Africa are trailblazers in developing the type of non-traditional and trust-based partnerships required to sustainably address our water challenges. We remain committed to working with all stakeholders to achieve a water-secure future for the country.”
The Strategic Water Partners Network (SWPN) is a public, private, and civil society partnership whose members work collectively to close the 17% gap between water supply and demand that is anticipated to manifest in South Africa by the year 2030 unless action is taken to manage the country’s water resources more sustainably. The SWPN convenes stakeholders, carries out participatory problem and opportunity analyses, and develops, incubates, and scales out projects to improve water security in South Africa.
2030 WRG Regional Communications Officer Africa
2030 WRG Global Communications Officer
Washington DC, USA
The Blue Certificate initiative, the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC), and 2030 WRG, organized a meeting in Arequipa on June 29, 2018 to talk about the certification process. Members of the initiative also presented a few case studies that showcased companies that have already been awarded. The Blue Certificate initiative was launched in 2016 by the Peruvian government, with the help of 2030 WRG, to encourage businesses to measure and reduce their water footprint.
The Blue Certificate is officially recognized by the Peruvian National Water Authority (ANA) to companies who have fulfilled three criteria: 1) actively measure corporate footprint; 2) have created a water reduction plan for their operations; and 3) have developed a shared valued project for their surrounding communities.
More than 30 companies in Arequipa participated in the recent event that was co-chaired by the Chief of ANA, the SDC Director of Cooperation, and the 2030 WRG Latin America Regional Coordinator. Two members of the 2030 WRG Steering Committee, Mercedes Castro from Agualimpia and Julia Torreblanca from Cerro Verde, also attended the event. Two additional companies from Arequipa—Plastisur, a member of Mexichem Group, and Cerro Verde—expressed their interest in this certification process.
A second meeting was held in the region of Ica region on September 6, 2018 to present the certification process. More than 50 companies participated in the event. During this meeting, which was headed by the General Manager of ANA and the Regional Governor of Ica, Agrícola Don Ricardo expressed its interest in participating in the certification process.
So far, 13 companies have either received certification or are in the process of getting certified. ANA is expecting to save 79,000 cubic meters of water and reuse 137,000 cubic meters of wastewater per year through the Blue Certificate initiative. More than 1.3 million dollars will be invested by the companies involved in the certification process, benefiting 30,000 citizens. To amplify the impact of the Blue Certificate initiative, the Peruvian Government will work to expand the initiative to other regions in Peru.
This blog was written by Stela Goldenstein
Brazil 2030 WRG recently established a working group in the metropolitan area of Campinas. The goal was to identify potential opportunities for investments in new industrial reuse units that treat sewage from cities in this region. So far, the Water Basin Agency and the Water Basin Committees of the Piracicaba, Jundiaí and Capivari rivers basins have developed the most successful institutional model for water management. They have brought water users and water managers together to regulate, plan, and invest in projects aimed at improving water quality and quantity in the region.
A conurbation of four metropolises, which are located in the state of São Paulo in southeast Brazil, houses a population of almost 34 million inhabitants. Together, these four metropolises generate a significant portion of the country’s GDP. Their vibrant economies are highly interconnected, and there is constant movement of people, information, and products across these four metropolises. These four metropolises are also tied to each other in another way; although they are situated in different watersheds, they share their water supply.
The central metropolis is the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo. It has more than 21 million inhabitants and is installed at the headwaters of the River Tietê Basin. Despite the region’s immense water need, local water production is extremely low, and cannot meet the demands installed. Over the years, as the region expanded, more and more investments were poured into the region. To keep pace with the population growth and economic activities in the region, water was captured and transposed from nearby springs to the region.
As the regions—especially the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo—continue to grow, competition for water between their people and industries will only intensify. Climate change and poor water resources management further aggravate the situation. The resulting water stress is, arguably, the most serious systemic problem that the government and private sectors face in their planning processes.
Getting the water needed
Some will say that companies should be given priority because without water they need for their industrial productions, these companies will not be able to operate, and jobs will be lost. But technical and legal definitions define that public needs always deserve priority. The range of programs and investments needed to mitigate the conflict includes efforts to reduce the demands of water, as well as to adequate de offer, changing the standards for the supply and consumption of water.
Although industries need water for their production, they do not need high quality water that is safe enough for human consumption. Done right, final effluents from domestic sewage treatment plants operated by utility concessionaires should be of sufficient quality for industrial production. In other words, wastewater reuse by industries could play an important role in the effort to manage water scarcity in Brazil.
Sincere and open dialogue
The complexity and enormity of the task to manage water scarcity in Brazil call for an integrated and consistent set of actions and investments, including institutional framework adjustments, specific regulations, and innovative procedures to finance projects . For that to happen, there must be sincere and open dialogue between different spheres of government, between public and private institutions, and between utilities and municipalities, who are ultimately the grantors of water.
These stakeholders must discuss and come to an agreement on what they need to do to ensure sufficient reserves for potabilization. They also need to come an agreement about the scope and amount of investments needed to address the water needs of the population and the private sector in an equitable and sustainable manner.
As mentioned earlier, reusing wastewater for industrial production holds great promise to address water scarcity in Brazil. Unfortunately, there are currently only isolated cases of wastewater reuse by industries in Brazil. Up to now, there are still many institutional barriers that stand in the way of increased wastewater reuse by industries. For this reason, Brazil 2030 WRG is working with the government and private sector to overcome these barriers.
In a similar fashion, the state government and industries of the regional also established a working group. They recently organized a technical seminar to initiate the consultation process for all stakeholders involved. Cities, their utilities, the State sanitation services, the region’s water-consuming industries, the state environmental agency, and the federal government all participated in the process. If this trend continues, industrial reuse of effluents from sewage treatment plants may soon become the norm.
This effort begun with a technical seminar to initiate the consultation process for all stakeholders involved. Today, cities, their utilities, the State sanitation services, the region’s water-consuming industries, the state environmental agency, and the federal government all participate in the process. If this trend continues, industrial reuse of effluents from sewage treatment plants may soon become official policy and an opportunity.
Photo credit: Goodfreephotos.com
The Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh lies between the Yamuna River and the northern part of the Vindhyan ranges. It is spread over an area of 29,000 square kilometers and is home to 7.8 million people. It receives water from perennial rivers including the Yamuna, Ken, Betwa, Sindh, and Pahuj rivers. Over 75 percent of the population depends on agriculture for their primary livelihood, with 96 percent of the income generated from agriculture and livestock collectively.
The region, which was once known as the pulse bowl of India, is now facing the fourth successive drought in the last five years. The negative effects of these droughts weigh heavily on the backs of people living in this marginalized and economically disadvantaged region. Although billions of dollars have been pumped into Bundelkhand over the last decade, the water situation there has shown little to no improvement. Indeed, the average annual rainfall in Bundelkhand has plummeted by 40 percent over the last thirteen years, with 60 percent decline in rainfall happening in the last five years alone. The resulting acute water shortage has triggered mass migration; without water, many families in this predominantly agricultural region can no longer grow enough crops to sustain their livelihoods.
The situation seems grim, but fortunately history have a few lessons to teach about water resources management in Bundelkhand. During the 10th-17th century, the Chandelas and Bundelas—the two major dynasties in Bundelkhand—took keen interest in conserving water as a means of supporting livelihood and developing the region.
Since the terrain in Bundelkhand is rocky, which prohibits percolation and natural groundwater recharge, the Chandelas and Bundelas built networks of reservoirs that enabled quick recharge of shallow aquifers and ensured minimal run-off of rainwater. This network of reservoirs helped increase groundwater levels in the surrounding region and made it possible to build wells that serviced the needs of people in the region. Unfortunately, over time, urbanization, growing settlement, and poor management destroyed many of these reservoirs. The remaining ones fell into disrepair and were rendered useless.
To help the region better manage its water resources—particularly in the Bundelkhand region—the Government of Uttar Pradesh approached 2030 WRG for help. Using an integrated and participatory approach, 2030 WRG facilitated a formal state-level multi-stakeholder partnership (MSP) to develop initiatives targeted at improving watersheds and reservoirs, increasing on-farm efficiency through improved agriculture and irrigation practices, and developing market linkages to increase agricultural production.
Recently, at the request of the state administration, 2030WRG commissioned a comprehensive mapping of water reservoirs in the Jhansi District of Bundelkhand. The study uncovered an encouraging fact—with proper restoration, the storage capacity of reservoirs in the region can be increased by five folds.
Based on the mapping analysis, 2030 WRG is now developing a project to integrate resources and initiatives from government, private sector, philanthropic foundations, and civil society. This project aims to rejuvenate water reservoirs in Bundelkhand, starting with the Jhansi District. The plan is to scale up this initiative to include all seven districts in Bundelkhand. When completed, these reservoirs would enable storage of surface water for dry seasons and recharge aquifers and nearby drinking water sources. With the support of it stakeholders, the MSP is now one step closer to addressing Bundelkhand’s water challenge.