A proposal from the World Bank for the Australian Water Partnership to provide technical support to the India National Hydrology Project (NHP) has been approved.
The World Bank has assisted the Government of India and several state governments with water sector institutional and technical capacity-building over the last 20 years. To date, this work has been in southern India, however, recently the Bank and the Government of India have agreed to extend this across all of India and to adopt a river basin approach for integrated water resources management.
The new NHP aims to strengthen the institutions and water information required and builds on two previous loan programs over the past twenty years. All Indian states and union territories are participating in the project, with the interstate dimensions of the major river basins and aquifers being handled by participating central agencies.
This work is critical in nature as India has 16% of the world’s population but only 4% of freshwater resources, which, coupled with the national drive for economic growth, has led to a strong and growing imbalance between supply and demand. Indeed, many believe that water is the biggest challenge to the Government’s plan to scale up manufacturing in India. Water scarcity and quality are impacting business from multiple angles, including supply of raw materials, energy supply, abstraction permits and the cost of water treatment. The scale of the problem demands a collective approach which brings together business, national and state governments, communities and civil society.
A recommendation of up to $1.15 million of AWP funding over two years has been recently approved to support this proposal. The proposal demonstrates clear alignment with the DFAT-approved Program Logic and Funding Agreement criteria, and provides opportunity to meet AWP intermediate and long-term outcomes through:
- Facilitating strategic relationships and partnerships through a multi-year engagement with the World Bank in India providing opportunity to build knowledge and contacts at the Central and State Government levels;
- Brokering and supporting easier access to AWP partners who offer expertise and experience in a range of relevant water policy, management and technical areas;
- Facilitating private sector engagement and development by providing opportunity for Australian partners to contribute to the design phase and potentially the implementation of the USD $550 million NHP program (noting WB procurement issues identified);
- Building and sharing knowledge on water reform by sharing Australian and Indian experience and expertise to deliver the four NHP components.
For more information, contact Grantley Butterfield, AWP Manager.