India currently has less than 1000 m3 of renewable freshwater per person annually, making one of the most water stressed countries in the world. However, even as many Indians still do not have access to safe, affordable drinking water and sanitation, increasing demand for water by cities, agriculture and industry is already resulting in groundwater depletion and drying rivers. Inequitable access and conflicts over water for livelihoods threaten India’s stability, growth and development.Despite substantial investments towards addressing the problem, success stories have been few and far between. As river basins reach “closure” and all available water is allocated, the only option is to focus on managing demand for water. The challenge is that this must be accomplished while maintaining food security and doubling farmers income.
The Water and Agriculture Initiative (WAI) takes a holistic, learning and demand-focused.
1. Siloed, narrow problem definition results in fragmented solutions that lack connect with the larger context. WAI takes a nexus approach to recognise links between water, agriculture and energy.
2. Existing solutions lack credible evidence what works. The WAI promotes cross learning within the sector.
3. Supply focused solutions fail because they do not account for the aspirations and perceptions of water users. WAI takes a demand-based approach to identify and address bottlenecks to change