Client / Financial Support:Winrock International/Ford Foundation Duration: 26 mins
India’s water bottling industry today stands on an annual worth of about 1,800 crore rupees (1 crore = 10 million). This is a reflection of the accelerating water crisis in urban India. This crisis does not, of course, affect everybody to the same extent. If Lutyen’s Delhi receives 400 litres per person per day, the slums of Najafgarh receive less than 30 litres per person per day. This crisis is rooted not so much in the overall availability of water, as in the patterns of consumption and failure to regulate consumption through appropriate and equitable tariff structures. The problem is further compounded by a general urban mindset that seeks to source water from the rural countryside, rather than focussing on its conservation.
Water Business is Good Business travels from Delhi to Indore and from Bombay to Chennai, exploring the politics and economics of urban water supplies. In each instance we come across the same solution – the construction of mega-projects to bring water from distant rivers to our various cities. But this is fire-fighting at best! For, even as we source water from distant locations, with all the attendant problems of displacing rural people from their homes and livelihoods, the growing needs of exploding, upwardly mobile urban populations will simply ensure a continually growing need for water and more water.