India, the world’s second-most populous nation, is doubling spending on water management to a record as conglomerates from the Tatas to Adani face shortages that the United Nations calls an impending crisis.
The federal and state governments have set aside 1.1 trillion rupees ($20 billion) for sewage treatment, irrigation and recycling for the five-year period ending March 2017, G. Mohan Kumar, special secretary in the Ministry of Water Resources, said in an interview. The nation with 1.2 billion people, which treats only 20 percent of its sewage, is pouring more money as inadequate clean water is threatening to stunt growth in industrial and farm output.
Disputes with farmers demanding rights to their irrigated land have stalled about $80 billion of investment by companies including Posco and ArcelorMittal (MT) as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeks to revive an economy growing at the slowest pace in a decade. Tata Steel Ltd. (TATA), India’s biggest maker of the alloy, is setting annual targets to cut water usage as two-thirds of the country faces a scarcity, H.M. Nerurkar, managing director said in an April 11 interview.
“Water availability is a very big issue and in the coming days this will be a far bigger issue,” A.P. Choudhary, chairman of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd., India’s second-biggest state-run steelmaker, said in an interview. “Water is critical for the steel industry’s growth and no company is comfortably placed.”
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