On the occasion of the UN 2023 Water Conference, Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat announced on Thursday that India plans to invest more than US$240 billion in the country’s water sector. It is also implementing the world's largest dam rehabilitation program coupled with efforts to restore groundwater levels.
“We have committed investments of more than 240 billion dollars in the water sector through government resources, in partnership with private innovators, start-ups, and water-user associations. India is implementing two flagship missions to ensure universal access to sanitation and drinking water,” Shekhawat said, delivering the national statement in the UN General Assembly.
India is putting in place an ambitious program to ensure water security across the country and achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 of clean water and sanitation.
India is also working on the implementation of the biggest dam rehabilitation program in the world, to build climate resilience critical water storage infrastructure.
“We are making efforts to restore groundwater level and create mindful communities by combining demand and supply side interventions through village Water Security Plans, inculcating behavioural changes on water usage and conservation at the grass-root level, financing these plans through incentives and convergence of existing programmes,” he added.
India is the largest user of groundwater globally, extracting more than the U.S. and China put together. In 2019, India launched its landmark groundwater program, the Atal Bhujal Yojna, to halt this precipitous decline.
In 2019, India was declared open defection free. In this regard, Shekhawat said: “In our journey to achieve SDG 6.2, since 2014 we have built over 105 million toilets, and transformed sanitation habits through mass-scale behaviour change of more than 600 million Indians.”
The campaign continues through efforts to ensure sustainable solid and liquid waste management solutions in all 600,000 villages and communities in India. The SGD 6.2 target aims to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation by 2030, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.