National Hydrology Project (NHP) III
India is facing a set of severe water challenges, with demand expected to outpace supply by 50 percent by 2030 unless major water management reforms are undertaken. Surface water is commonly over-allocated and groundwater is being extracted at unsustainable rates, particularly for agricultural use. The agricultural sector accounts for more than 90 percent of total water use, and with a growing population, the demand for water for agriculture is rapidly increasing. Water quality is declining due to urban waste and untreated sanitation and industrial pollution. Droughts and floods claim many lives each year, and climate change evidence suggests the frequency and severity of both are increasing.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has placed India at the forefront of its international relationships, and water is a key element of this cooperation as is evidenced by the formal cooperation between the governments of India and Australia regarding water issues which began in 2009.
India is a priority country for the Australian Water Partnership (AWP) for diplomatic, hydrological, and commercial reasons, but also in its aim to support countries where Australia’s knowledge and experience can have a positive outcome for water management practices and for communities.
AWP is providing technical assistance to the Indian Ministry of Water Resources under the Government’s National Hydrology Project (funded by a World Bank loan) which aims to improve water management across India at national and state levels.
In December 2015, the AWP Advisory Committee endorsed a proposal from the World Bank to facilitate technical assistance for the third phase of a National Hydrology Project (NHP) in India in seven areas, including surface- groundwater interactions, river basin planning, water information systems, water accounting and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA).
In India, AWP will continue to support the third phase of the National Hydrology Project (NHP III) funded by the Indian Government and the World Bank as well as supporting smaller scale solutions that have a clear pathway to upscaling across the country. AWP will also continue to strengthen Australia’s ties with India in the water sector by supporting an AWP South Asia coordinator, based in New Delhi.