Water battles loom large

Ranen Banerjee, Executive Director, PwC India

Over the last 15 years, through my consulting career, there have been ongoing discussions around the impending water crisis.
And as we continue to grapple with it, the crisis has arrived.

So what is the call for action? 
Clearly, governments need to increase their willingness to charge for water not only to cover operation and maintenance costs but also for conservation. Water conservation related education and IEC activities need to be more vigorous for the young generation to be more sensitive towards wastage. Reduction of ‘non-revenue’ water can decrease raw water requirement and the need for capital investments in a new capacity as well as in bringing down tariffs. Norms for industrial water use need to be developed and enforced. There is also the need to incentivise zero discharge, recycling and water harvesting activities by industries, housing societies and individuals.

And as individuals and citizens, what are our responsibilities?
We need to work towards developing localised plans for rejuvenating our remaining water bodies, cleaning catchment areas, developing surface drain channels towards recharging water bodies, installing rainwater harvesting structures, and promoting innovation in water treatment, recycling and conservation equipment. Also, communities and governments cohesively need to explore possibilities of a Bureau of Water Efficiency on the lines of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in order to promote innovation in water conservation and usage, undertake efficiency ratings of water consuming plants, machinery, equipment, fittings and fixtures and ensure the equitable distribution of the precious resource in a prioritised manner.

On World Water Day 2014, let's take a pledge to be more action-oriented and go beyond dinner-table conversations.

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