The World Water forum held since 1997 is the annual reminder that providing safe water throughout the world is one of the key issues for life, especially in the developing countries. In India, in particular, the World Bank estimates that 21 % of communicable diseases are related to unsafe water supply. Therefore, one of the crucial roles the government is attempting to play in the next few years is to ensure a safe, reliable, environmental respectful and affordable water supply.
Reaching all these goals at once is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to water related issues. At the beginning of November 2012, Veolia Water India has struck the largest Public Private Partnership in water supply ever concluded with the city of Delhi. By providing water to 1 million inhabitants, every day of the year, this contract sets an example for the whole country to increase the engagement of the public sector into water management. and Sanitation Program can play a role but they will not be able to build the whole infrastructure. This outsourcing could increase capacity and allow cost-effective management of the existing infrastructure. However, when improving the water network in India, one specific particularity should be taken into account. Given the size of the country and the diversity of the density of the population, very different supply could be envisaged for megalopolis and rural areas. The challenge for India is to manage the development of water networks and their quality. The 11th five-year plan to manage these water supply issues is financed for 55 % by the national government.
An enhanced cooperation with the private and NGO sector, could be a way to both increase the pace and hedge any financing risk. The large network of Indian students throughout the world is an incredible resource to make this happen, to enable Gen Y to bring new ways to solve this issue. India is brewing top class young professionals that must be included into the fray of problems to find real solutions. Mindthis has seen a substantive increase in these young professionals taking action by creating NGO’s that have their own niche in playing a role to solve the pressing issues India face today. However, the Government must act as a connector between these new Youth Led NGOs and create a network between them to encourage transfer of knowledge. It’s time for India’s young to solve her old problems.
Gatien Bon (X2009)