You know, I have been thinking of water sustainability for a while. For one, we are trying to dig up on innovations in water sustainability for one of our consulting engagements. For another, the data I collect show how low water is priced, especially for industries.

I was especially struck by a Jan 2018 report in Times of India that the state government planned to increase the water tariff for some industries that used it as raw material by 25 TIMES (not 25%, but 25 TIMES) – https://bit.ly/2XsZUr9 . So, while it had been about Rs 5/1000 liters until early 2018, the tariff should have gone up to Rs 125 by Feb 2018.

While I’m not sure about the actual enforcement of this plan, this really got me thinking. And then I read a news report that the Jal Shakti Ministry plans to have water audits done by Indian companies, using ideas similar to the fairly successful ideas such as Perform-Achieve-Trade used in the energy efficiency sector. This news item also provided a snapshot of how there’s been a steady decline in per capita water availability in India – from 5177 cum per annum per capita in 1951 to only about 1545 cum per capital by 2011. It is further expected to decrease to 1341 cum per capita by 2025.

Now, I was not able to find out what exactly they mean by availability, but let’s for practical purposes consider it to be the water that is accessible per capita. In 60 years, the per capita availability has decreased by a scary 70%. (during the same period, population increased from 360 million to 1200 million – of one were to actually turn this into a denominator, it turns out that the total water availability in the country is the same!).

Anyway, looks we are getting into a water scarce regime, and the government as a result is keen on all corporates doing a water audit and perhaps reduced water use based on this audit.

All that’s fine, but that kind of ignores one rather minor fact – 80% of fresh water in India is used for agriculture, and Indian farmers are one of the most inefficient in water use – they use three to five times the amount of water for unit production as the Chinese or the Americans.

Water audit by the farmers – does anyone have the guts to propose this?