Business Today

The Rs 88,000-crore Opportunity

Solutions to India's acute water crisis are a booming market.
Team BT | Print Edition: June 19, 2016
Illustration: Nilanjan Das

India is going dry, literally so. The per capita availability of water has dropped from 5,177 cubic metres in 1951 to 1,545 cu m in 2011, which is below the 'stress level' of 1,700 cu m. But awareness of the problem also provides a chance to set things right. Companies engaged in extending municipal water supply or building wastewater treatment plants are not only fulfilling a social need but also earning hefty revenues. According to water management consultancy Earth Water Group, out of India's Rs 88,000-crore water market that includes transportation, distribution, water reservoir management and irrigation, the water treatment market - pegged at Rs 17,907 crore - is growing at 17-18 per cent per annum.

So too companies providing packaged drinking water or manufacturing domestic water purification systems are not only reducing water borne disease in the country, but also seeing extraordinary growth. Bottled water demand has risen from two million cases annually in the 1990s to 164 million in the last decade. Separately, in agriculture, drip irrigation systems - which enable farmers to cut water use by 40-50 per cent - are not just fulfilling the country's crying need to save water, but also earning a bonanza for their manufacturers.

Finally, water shortage is being compounded by the unscrupulous, who continue to tap ground and fresh water illegally in a variety of ways. Business Today takes a look at the myriad opportunities India's water crisis has thrown up.

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