Water and Sanitation
At some point, each one of us has experienced a situation of water shortage or water unavailability for a few minutes or few hours leading to a delay in our daily chores. Now imagine your whole life in such a situation. This is the case for nearly 1/4th of the global population.
Globally, nearly two billion people live in water-stressed areas, and over two billion people live without access to safe drinking water. In the Indian context, studies show that 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress.
Global water challenges, such as water scarcity and pollution are having an increasingly negative impact on businesses. Now more than ever, companies need to assess their water performance and the watersheds in which they operate in order to address these challenges and ultimately stay in business.
Water and WASH Workstream
The Water and WASH workstream is a multi-stakeholder platform, hosted by the UN GCNI and supported by - the Ministry of Jal Shakti and UNGC's CEO Water Mandate, dedicated to promoting SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation in India.
Access to both Water and Sanitation is widely recognized as a basic Human Right – sustaining life and health. The importance of water to our existence cannot be stressed enough and the pandemic has made us realize the importance of having reliable, sustainable and affordable access to Water and Sanitation services for everyone. Water scarcity also poses a direct threat to our industries, businesses and thereby the economy.
Objective: To prepare a national level framework and strategy to guide Indian companies on what are the priority areas where they can make long-term investments to initiate Water Conservation and WASH efforts at a basin level.
Timeline: 2021 - 2023
1. Corporate partners - Accenture, Vedanta and Mindtree
2. Knowledge partners - SM Sehgal Foundation and NCML
3. Best Practices Challenge Partner – Maithri Aquatech
Activities till now:
- Stakeholder Consultation Meet- UN-GCNI convened a stakeholder consultation, under this workstream, aiming to bring government agencies, corporates, NGOs, and academic partners on the same platform to discuss issues and possible solutions pertaining to SDG 6 with an emphasis to improve Water Stewardship across India through a long-term commitment. The consultation helped amplify the conversation around Water and WASH in India, synthetize the white paper and identify recommendations for a national policy framework. Further, the consultation helped conceptualise ways to ensure greater corporate participation towards achieving Water stewardship and moving towards sustainable development.
- Best Practices Challenge on Water and WASH in India 2022- As a part of this initiative, UN GCNI organized a Best Practices Challenge on Water and WASH in India 2022, which brought forth pan-India initiatives undertaken by Indian Businesses to help address SDG 6 and showcased several of their best practices. The challenge emphasized on the need to introduce innovative solutions to embed technology and sustainability in business operations and achieve corporate stewardship.
- Drafting of White-Paper-A white paper has been drafted to examine issues pertaining to - how Indian businesses can invest their Sustainability efforts and resources to improve Water Stewardship across India through a long-term commitment, thereby contributing to SDG 6. The two areas of research under this white paper are: 1.) the availability and quality of water for drinking and sanitation and, 2.) availability of water for farming. The white paper involves extensive primary and secondary research from Akola district, Maharashtra, which will provide the basis to draw a national level framework for similar climate vulnerable regions.