Most cities in India are water stressed with no city having 24/7 water supply and most of it being contaminated. Hence, the need to manage water and waste water cannot be overemphasized. Companies play a crucial role in this environment as they are large-scale consumers and can contribute significantly to this. At government policy level, the focus is primarily on water treatment – whether it is the mandate for zero liquid discharge (ZLD) systems across five footnote, or the Supreme Court’s ‘green order’ for all industrial units to set up effluent treatment plants (ETP), or the reuse of treated water in nearby thermal power plants.
Indian companies have programs to manage water not only in their operations but also across various stakeholder groups such as community, suppliers, employees and customers.
Water treatment and reuse address dual concerns of contamination and limited freshwater availability. Over 70% of manufacturing companies treat wastewater (both process effluent and sewage water) and recycle it either into the manufacturing process or for peripheral purposes such as gardening, toilet flushing and cleaning. This is in contrast to the service sector where only around 30% companies treat and reuse water. Most banks reported that as they are service-oriented and their operations are not water intensive, water management programs are not a priority. While at the same time, all IT companies manage water used in their operations, despite being non-water intensive.