India—Water Analysis, Innovations, and Systems Program (WAISP)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2010-2013

Region: Asia and the Pacific

Country: India

Solutions: Environment

Food, health, and the environment are inextricably linked to the supply of water. In India, a country of 1.2 billion people, the water supply is being squeezed by the growing population and climate change. Despite overexploitation of groundwater, deteriorating water quality, and weak water governance, there is cause for optimism as the public and business sectors now acknowledge these threats to India’s economic growth and public health.

Given the competing water demands between agriculture, domestic use, and industry, the industrial sector could be the worst hit, with a direct impact on economic growth and jobs. Improved municipal and industrial water-use efficiency and water reuse will decrease freshwater demand, slow groundwater withdrawals, and reduce pollution. We were contracted by the U.S. Agency for International Development to analyze its comparative advantage for delivering innovative solutions to India’s water challenges.

Select Results

  • For USAID, completed whole-of-sector assessment examining linkages with climate change, food security, and health that informed the agency’s internal prioritizing and strategy.
  • Analyzed the potential and feasibility of intersectoral water use, primarily for municipal wastewater reuse by industry, and of instituting more efficient water-use practices.
  • Reviewed climate change-related vulnerabilities on water resources.
  • Reviewed state- and city-level legal and policy framework that underpins urban water management.
  • Advised on municipal water-use efficiency opportunities in three cities: Faridabad, Jaipur, and Pune (total population 10.5 million).
  • Surveyed approximately 500 water consumers in each city, including households of varying income groups, as well as government offices, hospitals, religious centers, parks, malls, schools, and others.
  • Recommended concrete opportunities to improve water-use efficiency and wastewater reuse in each city and discussed these with local officials.
  • Hosted workshops with municipal representatives and other water sector stakeholders in Jaipur, Pune, and Faridabad, as well as a national-level workshop.
  • Presented results of our analysis regarding the potential for intersectoral water use, and opportunities for improving urban water-use efficiency.


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