Hindustan Unilever launches nation-wide water project

Worried by the country's rapidly depleting water tables, Hindustan Unilever, India's largest fast-moving consumer goods maker, has launched an initiative called ' India water body', which will conduct a nation-wide study to assess the demand-supply gap of water.

The maker of Lifebuoy soap and Surf detergents – products which of course, are useless without water - said it will invest Rs5 crore this year in water conservation projects, out of the Rs20 crore that it has committed for the purpose.

However, this investment will go up substantially with HUL's move to launch India water body, an initiative to address the challenge of water scarcity in India in a holistic way.

The company has already initiated projects in several states to create capacity for conserving more than 50 billion litres of water by 2015.

HUL chief executive and managing director Nitin Paranjpe told reporters at the launch of India water body in Mumbai on Monday that although a corpus has not yet been set aside for the foundation, the objective is to drive water security in the country by 2030 through the public-private partnership route.
"It is estimated that by 2030, the supply of water in India would be half of the demand for it. This is a crisis that has the potential to derail the economic and social development of the country and impact the health and livelihoods of millions of people across the country. We believe that what concerns the nation must concern us too," said Paranjpe.

In Punjab, 'the food bowl of India', for example, water levels have dropped to 600 feet from 250 feet in five years. Experts to believe that in the next two decades, there could be a serious water crisis.