Mumbai: In a bid to address the critical water resources challenges in Maharashtra, the state government and 2030 Water Resources Group (WRG) launched the Maharashtra Water Resources ‘Multi-Stakeholder Platform’ (Maharashtra Water – MSP), a project which is expected to attract a funding of around USD one billion.
The platform, chaired by the state chief secretary Sumit Mullick, aims to bring together key decision-makers from the public sector, private sector and civil society to forge partnerships for sustainable and scalable solutions, empowered by 2030 WRG’s hydro-economic analysis.
“The government can only solve the serious water problem with the active and enthusiastic participation of the private sector and civil society. We have an opportunity to work together, to ensure there is enough water for our farmers to grow their crops, for our industries to provide employment and for the rivers to continue flowing,” Mullick said.
He further said if Maharashtra is to keep growing while maintaining social equity and environmental sustainability, “we need to not only balance competing needs but also significantly improve the efficiency of our water use”.
Maharashtra reportedly faces a high risk to climate change with longer dry spells and more frequent droughts.
“Already, farmers in rain-fed areas of Marathwada and Vidarbha are hard hit by recurrent droughts. But the productivity in the rain-fed areas can be increased with more efficient use of water and its management,” Mullick said.
Commenting on the partnership, 2030 WRG Co-Lead, Asia, Bastiaan Mohrmann said it will be working together to develop a comprehensive program that improves the livelihoods of and strengthens the resilience of marginal and small-holder farmers in Maharashtra.
“We are developing a project proposal for USD 270 million in funding from the Green Climate Fund, a body which aims to scale up climate change adaptation in rain-fed agricultural areas, to be implemented across Marathwada and Vidarbha, and aligned with the World Bank-funded Project on Climate Resilient Agriculture (PoCRA), resulting in nearly USD 1 billion worth of investments towards drought-proofing Maharashtra rain-fed agriculture,” he added.
Under the program, two task-forces would be set up, including command area water productivity and water and livelihood security in rain-fed agricultural areas.
“The objective of the task forces would be making financing and implementation arrangements for drip irrigation in sugarcane as well as adoption of water-efficient technology and better farming practices along with development of market linkages and value chains and promotion of innovation and agri-entrepreneurship,” Secretary of Command Area Department of water resources department CA Birajdar said.