Nagpur: Today is World Water Day 2017.
World Water Day (WWD) is about taking action on water issues. It focuses attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of its resources. Held on 22 March,World Water Day tackles a specific aspect of freshwater each year, raising awareness of what society can do to help make clean water more accessible.
The theme of 2017 is “Why waste water?” which focuses on reducing and reusing wastewater.
What is Waste Water?
Wastewater is any water that has been adversely affected in quality due to human activity. The vast majority of all wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture returns back to nature without being treated or reused. This causes mass pollution to the environment, while losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials – so instead of wasting water, we need to be reusing it.
The target of WWD ultimately aims to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and to increase water recycling and safe reuse by 2030 – by which time the global demand for water is expected to have grown by 50%.
The UN target aims to help improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping, minimising release of hazardous chemicals and materials and to substantially increase recycling and safe reuse globally. In doing this, it will help us to achieve safe water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, while improving life on land and in the sea.
There has been sufficient awareness of treating Industrial waste water in India and the world but where we are still losing out is re using of domestic waste water or sewage water that is even now being dumped almost untreated into the nearest river/ water body.
This is not only a criminal waste of millions of tons of what was to begin with potable drinking water, but also causes terrible urban and rural pollution and leads to ill health and suffering. The global images we see of waste water polluting living spaces are terrible and in this day and age of scientific advancement, simply deplorable.
The scene in Nagpur
We, in Nagpur, for a population of approximately 27 lakhs generate 560 MLD of sewage water, i.e. 560 million litres of waste water per day.
Previously, all this waste water was going completely untreated, divided almost equally between the three ‘rivers’ of Nagpur : Nag Nadi, which flows from West to North East, Pilli Nadi which flows from West to East finally joining Nag Nadi at Paldi and Pohra/ Kali Nadi which flows in the South, criss- crossing the Wardha road.
All the three rivers empty into the Wainganga, which is a source of drinking water and irrigation for villages by its sides.
Some years ago, NMC headed by its Chief Engineer then, Mr. Urade decided to do something about this waste water. A waste water treatment plant was set up at Bhandewadi with a capacity of treating and recycling 100 MLD. Now it is being upgraded to 200 MLD. (Since expansion activity is on, only 60 MLD is being treated now, which will change soon).
Another very unique and praise worthy enterprise has been recyling 130 MLD of sewage water that is being sold completely to Mahagenco for their Boiler consumption. NMC earns Rs. 15 crores every year from this sale.
Nagpur is the only corporation to earn money from waste water.
Based on this experience Vishwaraj Infrastructure, has been given the mandate of recycling another 200 MLD of water – part of the project is already complete. When both the Bhandewadi and Vishwaraj plants become operational Nagpur will be utilizing over 50% of its waste water – a very smart move indeed!!
Further plans of recycling the rest of water are also underway and projects worth 1500 crores have been submitted and even approved by JNURM but haven’t taken of, due to funds not being made available yet.
“There are a number of mini plants also operational at some places, which then supply the treated water to some industrial establishments of the area” informed Urade.
NIT and NMC have also made it mandatory now for every new Housing scheme coming up in the city to treat and recycle the waste water generated by its residents.
As Koustav Chaterjee, Founder of Green Vigil informed Nagpur Today, such plants cost up to Rs. 40 lakhs maximum and when cost is shared among all flat holders should not amount to more than Rs. 20,000 each. (Assuming it is a Housing scheme with 200 flats ).
Flat schemes such as the Godrej City have implemented this, but with smaller builders a proper feedback system has yet to be implemented to know if they are adhering or not, one learns.
`Water is going to be a scarce and precious commodity in the coming years. We are talking about potable Surface water here i.e. what is available through rivers and reservoirs.
Even the ground water levels are going down rapidly as more bore wells are dug and this water extracted for agricultural use as well as domestic use.
In this scenario it would indeed by ‘SMART” for any city to treat and re use Sewage water which is comparatively much easier to treat than industrial waste.
More so, when one can earn through this ‘WASTE’ too!!!
Kudos to NMC for being so smart!