The World is Running Out of Water!!
By 2030, the global population will reach nine billion and the world will require 40 percent more water than it does today. Climate change, increase in demand and lack of cohesive working is making the situation even worst. At the same time, water will continue to be central to all economic activities and economic growth will put further pressure on this already scarce resource. Without an adequate water supply, meeting basic needs and achieving sustainable economic growth as envisaged will not be possible.
Water in India is a Core Socioeconomic Challenge!!
India is the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people. By 2030, water demand in India will grow to almost 1.5 trillion m³, driven by domestic demand for rice, wheat, and sugar for a growing population, a large proportion of which is moving toward a middle-class diet. Planned Socioeconomic development and industrialization will only add to this demand. Against this demand, India’s current water supply is approximately 740 billion m³.
This problem along with depleting ground water tables, poor water quality and the health of all the rivers and the water bodies make the situation very scary, as a result, this would be one of the biggest challenge India will have to overcome for meeting aspiration of its people for eliminating poverty through sustained growth. As is, 600 million people in India face high to extreme water stress. Since time immemorial, human civilizations have thrived along the river banks. But focus on economic development has put pressure on our natural environment including, the water resources. Unfortunately, the water bodies today have been converted into dumping areas for human, animal and industrial wastes.
As a result of the recent change in government at the national level, there is a strong focus on developing innovative, cost-effective, and decentralized local demand-side-driven solutions for water-use efficiency and effluent treatment.
Reusing recycled sewage water provides a great opportunity. Unlike other measure sewage as a resource has very predictable supply and input quality feature hence it is a great tool not only for reducing demand for drawing more fresh water but solving pollution and sanitation challenges faced by India.
Our current approach of developing large centralised treatment plants based on network of pipe lines has several limitations for further development to be used as the back bone of water recycle and reuse system. These solutions require long term planning, execution and large investments, hence have low viability in large part of the country. Decentralised STPs on the other hand can be much more flexible, cost and time efficient and have very high scalability. These products are ideal for Localised treatment and reuse of sewage water for local applications.
India can draw a leaf out of the experience of Japan, which has been deploying such solutions successfully for last 60 years through JOHKASOU concept and Technology. The country has developed a very robust framework of standardised Policies, Technologies, Product and People certification systems to make it part of regular development.
Water is shared resource hence shared responsibility for stakeholders across government, private sector, and civil society and time to change is now!