Tackling India's Water Crisis: Ground-breaking book and standard on Water Governance released


The goal of the Water Governance Standard is to catalyse competitive dynamics in rural communities which uncover promising water investment opportunities that can deliver sustained benefits to communities and investors alike.

PUNE, India, Feb. 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — WOTR and W-CReS, with support from IDH, are proud to announce the official release of their ground-breaking book, ‘The Water Governance Standard: Making Water Everybody’s Business.’ The book, introduces a path breaking rating and certification methodology that could drive effective water management at scale by assessing communities and giving them a “water score” which characterizes how they access and manage water, much as a “credit score” reflects the creditworthiness of a person.

'The Water Governance Standard' has the potential to transform water management in India

The book and standard was officially released on Friday, February 3rd, 2023, at a webinar with the theme ‘Water Governance Standard: Towards an Investment Smart Rural Water Sector’. The webinar featured compelling keynote addresses by dignitaries including Mukund Govind Rajan, Chairperson, Environment Committee at FICCI; Amit Chandra, Managing Director at Bain Capital India; Mark Smith – Director General at IWMI and Adrian Sym, CEO at Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) and a power packed panel discussion around the theme, ‘Towards a Water Smart Rural India’, moderated by Alok Sikka, IWMI Representative-India that included Jasmer Dhingra, Director of Programs in India at IDH; Eshwer Kale, Thematic Lead of Water Resources Development & Governance at WOTR; Royston Braganza Co-founder & CEO at Grameen Impact and Paul Raja Rao, Founder Secretary and Executive Director at Bharati Integrated Rural Development Society.

“I congratulate WOTR and W-CReS for producing this very valuable document. Many businesses and corporates are going to find it extremely helpful in the pursuit of a more water resilient future,” said Mukund Govind Rajan, Chairperson, Environment Committee at FICCI.

“As a partner to WOTR and funder for the Water Governance Standard, we are very happy with this framework that can be applied for what we think is potentially transformational for water management at scale,” said Jasmer Dhingra, Director of Programs in India at IDH

The Water Governance Standard (WGS) aims to incentivise and nudge rural communities and investors alike to adopt water-smart attitudes and behaviours, while also channelising the necessary financial and technical resources to these communities.

“While ensuring that everyone has access to water is an important objective, long term water management and conservation greatly depends on the community’s ability to sustainably maintain its water resources through behavioural change. This is the most interesting aspect of the Water Governance Standard,” said Amit Chandra, Managing Director, Bain Capital India.

“I see the Water Governance Standard as a tool for activating change by taking the required incremental steps of governance, locally. Importantly, it gives a new kind of rationalisation for private sector engagement, not just in water management but in governance. It, therefore, has the potential to incentivise all actors to align in really new ways and introduce new drivers for those governance shifts,” said Mark Smith – Director General, IWMI

According to a report by NITI Aayog, 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and since independence, freshwater per capita has decreased by 70% (NITI Aayog, ‘Composite Water Management Index,’ June 2018). For India to meet its population’s water needs sustainably, there is a need to change behaviour and attitude toward water. “We believe that the Water Governance Standard, if customised to local contexts, has the potential to transform India’s rural water sector by incentivising behaviour change and creating appropriate conditions for significant financial and investment inflow into the water sector,” said Crispino Lobo, Co-Founder and Managing Trustee at WOTR and lead author of the book.

For more information and to access the book, please visit

About WOTR

WOTR is a nationally and internationally recognised non-profit and think tank dedicated to transforming the lives of millions of poor across India through participatory watershed development and eco-systems restoration, climate resilient sustainable agriculture, integrated and efficient water management and climate change adaptation, with a special emphasis on building resilience of vulnerable communities, farmers, and women. 

Established in 1993, the non-profit organization WOTR works at the intersection of practice, knowledge and policy to ensure food, water, livelihoods and income security to disadvantaged communities on a sustainable basis.

Headquartered in Pune, Maharashtra, WOTR has a presence in eight states and provides services to agencies across all states of India and from 63 countries. The organisation aims to develop ecosystems in an integrated manner for the well-being of poor communities. WOTR has worked in 4,395 villages and has impacted over 4.43 million people cumulatively since 1993. These figures cover projects in all its areas of implementation, training and capacity building activities. 

About W-CReS

Realising the significant knowledge gap in developing ‘evidence-based climate risk mitigation and adaptation strategies’, The WOTR Centre for Resilience Studies (W-CReS) was established in 2016. W-CReS bridges the gap between science, policy and practice and contributes towards building adaptive and resilience capacities at all levels by engaging with institutional and other stakeholders.


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