India Commits to Investments of Over US$240 Billion in its Water Sector

India has committed to investments of more than US$240 billion dollars in the water sector and is implementing the largest dam rehabilitation programme in the world as well as efforts to restore groundwater levels, Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat told the UN.

Shekhawat highlighted the ambitious programmes and efforts being undertaken in India towards ensuring water security and achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 of clean water and sanitation for all in a recent address at the UN Water Conference 2023, media outlet India Today reported.

“We have committed investments of more than US$240 billion dollars in the water sector through government resources, in partnership with private innovators, start-ups, and water-user associations. India is implementing two flagship missions to ensure universal access to sanitation and drinking water,” Shekhawat said.

He added that India is implementing the largest dam rehabilitation programme in the world, to build climate resilience and critical water storage infrastructure, and highlighted that due to the country’s unique geography, India is among the largest users of groundwater in the world.

“However, today we are making efforts to restore groundwater level and create mindful communities by combining demand and supply side interventions through village Water Security Plans, inculcating behavioural changes on water usage and conservation at the grass-root level, financing these plans through incentives and convergence of existing programmes,” he said adding that this has led to creating greater community ownership in the equitable management of water at a local level.

Shekhawat also told the conference that India’s ambitious National Mission for Clean Ganga or Namami Gange has been recently recognised by the UN Convention of Biodiversity conference COP15 held at Montreal as one of the top 10 World Restoration Flagships to revive the natural world.

“This mission has created a paradigm shift in river rejuvenation, pollution abatement, conservation of ecosystems and holistic approach to river basin management,” he said.

“With a commitment to successfully implement this ambitious 50 billion dollar programme in mission mode, we are poised to achieve SDG 6.1 well before 2030,” he said, referring to the target of achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030.

He also added that India’s Swachh Bharat Mission or Clean India Mission milestone was reached in 2019 when the country was declared open defecation free. “In our journey to achieve SDG 6.2, since 2014 we have built over 105 million toilets, and transformed sanitation habits through mass scale behaviour change of more than 600 million Indians.”

The campaign continues through efforts at ensuring sustainable solid and liquid waste management solutions in all 600,000 villages and communities in India. The SGD 6.2 target aims to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation by 2030, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.

#sustainability #waterstorage #hydro #UNWaterConference2023

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