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WBCSD, partners launch third version of India Water Tool

New Delhi : The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), along with its partners, has launched the third version of India Water Tool (IWT 3.0), a comprehensive and user-friendly application that makes water data from Government and other organisations available on a publicly accessible platform.

IWT 3.0 is a comprehensive and user-friendly application that makes water data from government and other organizations available on a publicly accessible platform.

The goal is to assist key stakeholders identify water risks and plan for better water management in India by making available water-related data. Stakeholders can use it to plan management interventions in the watershed.

The tool is expected to play a big role in improving water management in the country, where water scarcity is an urgent risk. The 2018 report by NITI Aayog highlighted that India is facing the worst water crisis in history which can lead to an eventual six per cent loss in the country’s GDP by 2030.

Businesses too face significant risks from water scarcity and have real opportunities to gain from addressing the challenge.

While the tool will be accessible to anybody who wishes to utilise the data, the WBCSD said that the goal was to help people identify water risks and plan interventions for proper management of water.

The first version of the India Water Tool came out in 2013 while the second version was released in 2015. The third version includes data on water availability, quality and water stress indicators from the Central government, Central Ground Water Board and other organisations.

The latest version brings to the fore granular data, said Deepa Maggo, manager (Water) at WBCSD and coordinator of India Water Tool.

“This data can be accessed and used by anybody through its website. It comprises data sets of groundwater level, block categorisation, projections, stress indicators and a section on localised data. It drives one to take action, whether at national, watershed or facility level. Going forward, this could be a movement and coordinated effort", she said.

According to the WBCSD, water can only be sustainably managed if data with an appropriate level of granularity is made available publicly in a format usable to all stakeholders. IWT 3.0 does all of this, while encouraging stakeholders to take action, whether at national, watershed or facility level.

It will be a critical element of strengthening water management in India.

“The India Water Tool has been developed by 20 companies and three knowledge partners over its three successive versions. The tool is a unique example of collaboration between actors across sectors to create a sustainable future through responsible water management and demonstrates what can be achieved in a water-scarce environment when business, government and knowledge partners work together", said WBCSD's Director for Water Tom Williams.

The IWT 3.0 includes over 20 datasets from key Indian Government authorities and other organizations, a dataset on real-time satellite capture of surface water availability from NASA and US Geological Survey (USGS) and water stress models developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Columbia Water Center (CWC).

It also brings results from two local watershed-level water-balance studies to give a complete picture of the watershed health and determine potential for water recharge and demand-side management.

Through the India Water Tool, groundwater-related data collected by the Central Ground Water Board has been combined and made accessible to users so they can take an evidence-based approach to inform their water management strategies, said CGWB Chairman KC Naik.

"Businesses must act responsibly with their water use and this tool is a good first step for them to understand where to focus their action, and how to go about planning management actions", Naik added.

The nationwide analysis the tool provides allows for a good understanding of local water situations and helps build a comprehensive corporate water management strategy and holistic stewardship approaches. It provides companies with a data-led approach in working with the other water- users for better water management in local geographies.

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