Not to water down water neutrality

NITI Aayog‘s effort to provide a standard definition for ‘water neutrality‘ is an important first step towards creating a level playing field to assess the claims made by industries, businesses and organisations on water consumption and usage. With a clear definition in place, it will now be possible to determine these claims and prevent greenwashing. It will also help put in place best practices for water consumption and conservation. A standard definition is the first step, now policies on water use must reflect it, and the institutional ecosystem required for enforcement must be put in place.

With investors demanding growing environmental awareness, companies and industries are voluntarily setting goals on various green parameters, including water usage. The standard definition suggested by NITI Aayog for water neutrality requires the claimant to demonstrate that their total freshwater consumption is less than or equal to all the verified and quantified water savings. This is an important step in determining water-friendly claims, and it also marks a clear recognition of the important role of water in sustaining life.

It is also an important step towards dealing with the impact of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution on water availability. The next step must focus on assessing plans and policies for their impact on water, and lead to encouraging best practices for conservation of freshwater and water-saving strategies. GoI could consider using market mechanisms to encourage investments and improvements in water consumption and savings.


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