Dec 03, 2012

Large Investments Needed for India’s Water-Management Sector

Water shortage, sewer upgrades among the issues noted

India’s water sector is facing some big challenges: Demand is high, but there is a shortage in supply. According to a report by Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI), sewage systems also are in need of modernization. According to official statistics, approximately 700 billion euros need to be invested in the municipal infrastructure between now and 2031.

India’s major metropolises are constantly growing, as is the need for fresh water. At the same time, the water table is sinking. In addition, India does not have something that is standard in most European cities: a well-built water supply network. Some 97 million people in India do not have access to drinking water, and approximately 70& of the population does not have access to modern sanitary facilities. According to the GTAI report, there is an urgent need for action in this area. 

According to the government draft for a new National Water Policy, to confront these problems, India is planning to include the private sector more in the realization and financing of these types of projects. And if you examine volume, that appears to be urgently necessary: According to a report by the High Powered Expert Committee, an average of 2.37 billion euros per year needs to be invested in the supply of municipal drinking water alone between now and the year 2031. And that is not the only area with an urgent need for modernization.

According to the GTAI, the sewage sector is also facing some big challenges. Only 20 to 30% of all municipal wastewater is treated, and a similar percentage is recycled. The remaining wastewater goes untreated and flows back into India’s waterways. Above all, the reasons for this are capacity shortages at treatment plants and in sewage systems, which have not been adequately developed. There are also government programs such as the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and the Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) that are designed to get these problems under control. A total of 6.5 billion euros has been invested in municipal water supply and sewage systems since 2005. 

Anna Westenberger, a GTAI representative at the New Delhi office, feels that all of these challenges in India represent good opportunities for international companies: “India is a future market where a lot will still happen. There are already several projects that are being realized with the involvement of the private sector. Therefore, offering products that have been adapted to the market is clearly an opportunity for equipment suppliers.”