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Businesses in India are underestimating water-related risks as depletion and pollution threaten to deprive millions of safe drinking water and stifle economic growth, according to a report published today.

Most companies are increasingly aware that the lack of water could disrupt businesses yet aren’t equipped to assess the risks or remedy the problems, according to the CDP, a nonprofit group formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project.

“No water means no business,” the CDP said. “Water tables are falling and water-quality issues are increasingly coming to the fore.”

India is expected to become “water-scarce” within six years following a steady decrease in supplies available per person, according to the report. Per capita water availability in India fell 15 percent in a decade while the second-most populous nation expanded nearly three-fold in 50 years.

The CDP compiles environmental performance data for investors. For its first India water report, it surveyed 29 companies including Tata Chemicals Ltd., Oil & Natural Gas Corp., JSW Steel Ltd., ITC Ltd. and Sesa Sterlite Ltd.’s iron-ore division. More than half consider themselves exposed to water risks. None reported paying any penalties for breaching discharge regulations, CDP said.

Businesses such as Baker Hughes Inc., Pernod Ricard SA and Croda International Plc source raw materials like guar gum, castor oil and sorghum from areas in India subject to water risks and anticipate worsening procurement challenges, according to the report.

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