The Impact of the National Green Credit Program on the Water Sector

The proposed Green Credit Programme by the Indian government aims to encourage the voluntary adoption of eco-friendly practices across individuals, industries, and local bodies. Aligned with the broader vision of the Prime Minister’s Mission Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) and the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration, this initiative introduces a trading platform for credits generated not only from carbon emissions reduction but also from diverse environmentally and socially sustainable practices.

Distinguishing itself from the Indian Carbon Market, this program covers various sectors, with a particular emphasis on water. Activities like water conservation, harvesting, and efficiency, including wastewater treatment and reuse, can earn green credits. Given the escalating pressure on India’s freshwater resources, especially with 11 out of 15 major river basins projected to be water-stressed by 2025, this program addresses the critical issue of water management.

Despite existing schemes like AMRUT 2.0 emphasizing water security, the Green Credit Programme introduces financial incentives for stakeholders, boosting the viability of projects related to treated wastewater reuse. To ensure its effectiveness, certain considerations must be addressed. Clear definitions of the types of green credits for each activity in the water sector are crucial. Additionally, measures must prevent ‘double counting’ issues arising from simultaneous participation in both green credit and carbon markets. The challenge of ‘additionality’ for activities spanning multiple sectors must also be addressed, rewarding such endeavors with multiple green credits. Finally, careful valuation is necessary to maintain fairness and equity in cross-sectoral credit trade.

The Green Credit Programme stands as a pioneering national initiative with the potential to revolutionize India’s sustainable water resource management. A thorough consultation process will be instrumental in refining this promising concept into a robust policy that can drive substantial impact on a larger scale. The draft Green Credit Programme Implementation Rules, 2023, offer a strategic opportunity to shape its successful execution.

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