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Waste water reuse: As the world is grappling with intense water scarcity, the dumping of waste water into freshwater sources like rivers is only augmenting the crisis. Amid this, the rising urban population is not making matters any better, because along with it is rising industrialisation. The water resources in India are collapsing under this burden, and to alleviate this, there is a need to ensure water supply as well as sewage treatment with reuse. To tackle this issue, Vishvaraj Environment Pvt Ltd and Nagpur Municipal Corporation launched a PPP model, called Nagpur Reuse Project, and now, the project is involved in the collection of 200 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage from rivers, and treating it for reuse.
Nagpur has a population of about 27 lakh people, and it had been using 700 MLD of fresh water. About 80% of this water, approximately 550 MLD, was being converted into sewage, indicating the high amount of water resources that were being wasted. Thus, Nagpur Reuse Project was the solution – it aimed at treating the sewage and reusing that water, in an effort to reduce the wastage of fresh water resources.
The work on the project, which also included a sewage treatment plant (STP), began back in June 2018, and the 200 MLD STP project was completed ahead of its scheduled completion, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, and now it has been the largest waste water project in the country.
The focus is on collecting 200 MLD sewage and treating it for reuse. The state power generation utility company MahaGenCo has earlier agreed to use this treated water for two of its plants – Khaparkheda and Koradi – and for this, it would be utilising 190 MLD of the treated water.
Wastage of water is a major problem that the country is facing. To put things in perspective, about 15,000 MLD of municipal and industrial waste is released into the holy River Ganga. The fate of other rivers in the country is the same, if not more. In Nagpur, the 550 MLD of waste water was being released into Pivali, Pohra and Nag rivers, and the Gosikhurd Dam was polluted due to this. The Nagpur Reuse Project was the result of the order of the High Court, which had directed that mechanisms for sewage treatment be established.
However, country-wide efforts are on to solve this issue. The Ministry of Power had in January 2016 made it mandatory for all thermal power plants to use treated sewage water if it was available within a 50 km radius, allowing the cost associated with this to be a pass-through in tariff. In general also, the government is working towards cleaning of rivers, like the Namami Gange mission, so that the freshwater resources in the country can be rejuvenated. Without sufficient fresh water, sustaining human life can become very difficult, which is why focusing on these problems is the need of the hour.