Around the world, water deficiency is a critical factor that limits growth and development. India ranks high on water stress. Over 330 million Indians were affected by drought conditions in April-May 2016.
For businesses, managing water has become a priority to ensure resilience, operational continuity and growth. Strategizing to counter water stress, especially for those engaged in agricultural production, manufacturing, mining or energy production, has become an imperative. This also holds true for companies where their workforce, supply chain or markets will be affected by disruption of water supply. It also includes those companies whose social license to operate depends on protecting and enhancing the welfare of vulnerable communities.
Strengthening water efficiency in agriculture, a lesson learned from India, is key for improving the availability and quality of all users, including industry. If agricultural water efficiency is not addressed smartly, other water management practices will not suffice. As businesses, we recognize that water is the key common denominator underlying the challenges faced by India’s food system. We also recognize that we have a significant role to play in developing solutions to mitigate these challenges.
This study outlines interventions on water efficiency and their impacts on productivity and other co-benefits. The study contends that implementation of “smart” solutions is a need as well as an opportunity. Finally, it outlines different avenues for the application of these solutions, and suggests means of collaboration for businesses, policy-makers and other stakeholders.