NEW DELHI — The U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum through its recently launched CEO Water Alliance spearheaded a critical discussion on water, with an aim to address the water crisis in India and to create measures that will promote the sustainable usage of water.
Founding CEOs from NALCO, Cargill, 3M, PepsiCo, Tata Steel and Westrock, among many leaders of industries such as ITC, Exxon, Coca Cola, Cairn participated in the inaugural ‘CEWA Water Dialogue’ that was held July 23 in New Delhi.
They were joined by other government stakeholders including Robert Garverick, minister counselor for Economic, Environmental, Science and Technology Affairs; Aileen Nandi, acting minister counselor for Commercial Affairs at the U.S. Embassy; Ambassador Arun K. Singh, former Indian Ambassador to the U.S.; Rajeev Arora, additional chief secretary, Government of Haryana and Akhil Kumar, joint secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India. Representatives from institutions such as The World Bank, WaterHealth International and Safe Water Network also participated in the Dialogue.
Participants discussed innovative ideas for industrial water availability and emerging wastewater policies across different states in India. Discussions also delved into industries’ best practices and ways to effectively harness the power of technology and predictive insights to increase productivity, while minimizing the use of water.
The business leaders evaluated the possibility of working individually and collectively in order to set tangible goals to reduce water consumption by at least 20 percent in the coming years.
Speaking about the CEWA event in a special address, Haryana Additional Chief Secretary Arora commented: “This is a very timely initiative. Separate state and central policy frameworks need to be complementary in nature to ensure their effectiveness and impact. We value the input and partnership of the private sector in this endeavor.” He also highlighted the positive impact of industry through their CSR initiatives.
Akhil Kumar, joint secretary, Ministry of Water Resources noted, “The government has been making efforts to tackle the growing crisis surrounding water. Partnerships are needed between relevant stakeholders to further positive outcomes.” He commended CEWA and said, “the efforts by organizations like USISPF are the need of the hour.”
Nivedita Mehra, managing director, India, USISPF, said “Water scarcity is impacting countries across the globe and it should be a business and societal imperative that governments, industry and other stakeholders come together to deploy and execute creative solutions. The CEWA platform will help in tackling these critical issues by aggregating industry efforts towards a common goal.”
Mukund Vasudevan, managing director, Ecolab India, and chairman of CEWA added, “It's time to galvanize the ecosystem to conceptualize a framework for integrating water systems, using state of the art technologies, best practices and good governance in order to reduce, reuse and recycle water. The industry will have to play a role in these efforts - to not only save water, but also minimize effluents towards a zero-discharge policy.”