The government of Maharashtra, India’s second most populous state and home to over 100 million people, is planning to make it compulsory for companies to adopt measures such as water recycling and rain water harvesting, reports Indian business publication Livemint.com.
Maharashtra, home to corporate offices of conglomerates including Tata Motors, Reliance Industries, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum, has been in the grip of a severe drought affecting one third of the state, prompting the move.
Currently the state issues guidelines advocating that companies use such water-saving initiatives, but the severity of the drought has highlighted the need to make the actions mandatory, according to Bhushan Gagrani, chief executive officer of the state’s industrial infrastructure agency Maharashtra Industrial Development Corp. Gagrani said that the MIDC will release a policy on the issue soon.
Companies in the region have enacted water saving initiatives with varying degrees of success. Bajaj Auto Ltd has almost halved its water intake through investing in new technology in its paint shop.
But according to the Chamber of Marathwada Industries and Agriculture, some businesses are buying water supplied through tankers. Such water is 10 times costlier than water supplied by the MIDC, according to the Chamber.
In July, the Coca-Cola Company announced that it had developed a beverage process water recovery system, piloted at facilities in India and Mexico, that can reduce a plant’s water use by up to 35 percent. The recovery system reuses water for selected beverage operations, such as clean-in-place and bottle washing, rather than treating and discharging it, the company said.
A recent report from the World Resources Institute notes that nearly 80 percent of India’s future power plants will be located in areas with very poor access to water. This is likely to cause water-related power outages and will force some very difficult decisions on the allocation of water.