Opportunities abound in Indian water market despite economic downturn

Come June this year, India's movers and shakers of the water industry will be in Singapore for the second Singapore International Water Week...

SINGAPORE, Apr. 30, 2009 -- Come June this year, India's movers and shakers of the water industry will be in Singapore for the second Singapore International Water Week.

Policy makers, industry players, experts and practitioners can tap on a global reservoir of refreshing perspectives and economically-viable solutions at Singapore International Water Week 2009. Themed "Sustainable Cities Infrastructure and Technologies For Water," this year's flagship programs of the Water Leaders Summit, Water Convention, Water Expo and Business Forums will have an expanded focus on infrastructure and technologies. In line with this, the 7th Ministers Forum on Infrastructure Development in the Asia Pacific Region, the International Water Association's 6th Leading-Edge Conference on Water and Wastewater technologies and the official opening of the Changi Water Reclamation Plant will be held alongside the Water Week.

Close to 10,000 delegates and trade visitors are expected at the event to be held from 22 to 26 June. Of these, 70% are expected to be overseas attendees. Ministers and government officials from India attending the Water Week include HE Thiru Durai Murugan, Minister for Public Works and Law, Government of Tamil Nadu, HE Ajit Pawar, Minister of Water Resources, command Area Development, Water Supply and Sanitation, Government of Maharashrta, HE Sri Tarun Gogoi, Chief Minister, Government of Assam, HE Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, Government of Himachal Pradesh and HE Sri Lal Thanhawla, Chief Minister, Government of Mizoram.

India Business Forum - Water in India: Building Sustainable Growth
India will be the focus of one of eight business forums held on 24 and 25 June during the Water Week. The Business Forums will enable participants to network with senior government officials and potential business partners in India as well as China, South-east Asia, Japan, Australia, Europe, North America, the Middle East and North Africa.

Themed "Water in India: Building Sustainable Growth," the India Business Forum was conceived to assume a pivotal role in the search for sustainable water solutions, which will be invaluable to incumbents and newcomers to the water sector in India.

The India Business Forum held during the inaugural Water Week last year attracted more than 250 business leaders and government officials. This year, the India Business Forum on 25 June is expected to draw more than 300 attendees.

"The forum will be the next best thing to being in India itself," said Mr Michael Toh, Managing Director of Singapore International Water Week. "Participants will get the scoop on upcoming water projects and development hot spots in India, and an insight to industry trends and policies."

A collaborative effort by PUB, Singapore's national water agency, and the Confederation of India Industry (CII), the forum is supported by the Administrative Staff College of India, ICRA Management Consulting Services Limited, Indian Water Works Association (IWWA), National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) and Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

High-level Speakers from Government and Industry
A panel of top brass government officials and water industry captains from India will be present at the India Business Forum to share the strategies, challenges and business opportunities for building sustainable growth in India from various perspectives.

The India Business Forum will be chaired by Mr Jamshyd N Godrej, Chairman, CII - Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre and Chairman & Managing Director of Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co Ltd. Mrs Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister, Government of NCT of Delhi, has also been invited as Chief Guest to the India Business Forum.

Mr Sanjay C Kirloskar, Chairman & Managing Director, Kirloskar Brothers Ltd, will chair the session on the investment opportunities in water sector in India. Dr M Ramachandran, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, will deliver the keynote address for this session.

Mr Arun K Nanda, Chairman, CII National Committee on Water and Executive Director of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd will speak about the Indian Industry Perspective and also conclude the session.

India's Water Market: An Overview
Like many countries, even with advanced technological capabilities, India still finds it a challenge to meet the water needs of its huge population. Almost a tenth of its rural population has no access to safe drinking water, which is an issue even in some urban, middle-class areas. It has been estimated that by 2025, the demand for water will have reached 1,050 cubic kilometers a year, but supply will only be 700 cubic kilometers.

According to the Global Water Intelligence, India's GDP has been growing consistently at an average rate of over 8% for the last four years. The growth of the economy has increased demands on infrastructure. The development of adequate infrastructure is a critical prerequisite for sustaining the growth momentum and the government is gearing up to invest in infrastructure development. The fund allocation from the Indian Government for the provision and improvement of basic services such as water and sanitation to the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) has increased in the 2008 - 2009 budget to approximately. INR68.65 billion (US$1.6 billion), against INR54.82 billion last year (2008). This has led to immense investor interest.

"With rapid urbanization and development, cities around the world, especially in Asia, face numerous water challenges such as the lack of infrastructure, demand for water resources and environmental degradation. Infrastructure and technology development can help cities maximize engineering efficiency as well as stimulate the economy, and position countries for future sustainable growth," said Mr Toh.

About Singapore International Water Week
The Singapore International Water Week is the global platform for water solutions. It will bring policymakers, industry leaders, experts and practitioners together to address challenges, showcase technologies, discover opportunities and celebrate achievements in the water world. Comprising the Water Leaders Summit, Water Convention, Water Expo and Business Forums, it culminates in the presentation of the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize, a prestigious international award to recognize outstanding contributions in solving global water issues. The second Singapore International Water Week will be held from 22 to 26 June 2009 at Suntec Singapore. The theme is Sustainable Cities Infrastructure and Technologies for Water.

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