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BW Businessworld

Portal On Water Data By India Inc

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The business of water is becoming hot with the India Inc. and is linked to its future and sustainability. Repeatedly accused of over exploiting water resources in India, companies have promoted water consciousness in their processes and local communities over the last decade. Concerns surrounding the scare resource and often a raw material for certain industrial process water has become a commodity to be accounted and audited.

Fourteen companies came together last year to develop an information data base - India Water Tool. On 23 July, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development launched this online portal. It lists availability, access, source, category and other water related specifics for India in order to help companies assess water risks and water efficiency.

A similar IT tool exists in the developed nations where a businessman starting out a project may type in his plant location and figure out whether the project is close to water sources, the kind of sources, whether it falls under a safe or critical zone, etc. The gold-mine of water data is a result of year long hard work by 14-member working group. The companies part of this group include Infosys, ITC, PepsiCo, ACC Cement, PwC and government authorities like the Central Ground Water Board.

Confident that the free availability of this information will help the India Inc. voice their concerns and substantiate their demands, Mangesh Gupte, senior manager, CSR, at ACC Cement said that while Industry is a water consumer it has little or no say at all in the policies around water. He explained the need for such information that will help organise businesses better. At present most of the data on this site is related to groundwater because data regarding surface water availability, quantity and access is sparse.

Joppe Cramwinckel, director, Water at WBCSD said, "though the use of only groundwater limits the scope of this tool there was no other information available." Pointing out the pivitol role Central groundwater board played, Caramwinckel suggested that perhaps once the tool becomes popular similar data on surface water will also be available.
 
At the launch Central Ground Water Board Chairman Sushil Gupta expressed pleasure at the interest and effort put in by the corporates. He said, "Water conservation can only be met through shared efforts. It is not a one company, one man agenda. It is a shared resources and thus needs to be conserved by coming together."


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