New Delhi: Reusing treated wastewater in irrigation in India could have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 1.3 million tonnes in 2021, according to the latest study by a think tank. Greenhouse gases causing greenhouse effect are one of the main drivers of climate change. As greenhouse gas emissions blanket the Earth, they trap the sun’s heat. This leads to global warming and climate change.
The study by ‘Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW)’ looks at mainstreaming the reuse of treated wastewater in the country.
It assesses the economic and market potential for the reuse of treated wastewater (domestic sewage) for irrigation at the national scale and makes recommendations to strengthen the existing governance on reuse. According to the analysis using the Central Water Commission (CWC) estimates, 11 out of 15 major river basins in India will experience water stress by 2025, with annual per capita renewable water availability below 1,700 cubic metres.
Hence, it is essential to explore alternative sources of water to address the demand-supply gap, the CEEW said in the new study.
The study also found that reusing treated wastewater in irrigation in India could have reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 1.3 million tonnes in 2021.
Our analysis suggests that the available treated wastewater would have irrigated 1.38 Mha in 2021, which would have reduced pumping in 3.5 per cent of the groundwater-irrigated area. Further, this would have led to a reduction of 1 million tonnes of GHG emissions. Additionally, on account of the inherent nutrient value of treated wastewater, fertiliser consumption would have reduced, resulting in further reduction of GHG emissions by 0.3 million tonnes, it said.
Also Read: Wider Image Seen From The Sky: Polluted Waters Around The World
The market value of the total available treated wastewater in 2021 was Rs 630 million if there was a mechanism in place to sell the treated wastewater to different sectors for reuse.
The market value will substantially increase to over Rs 830 million in 2025 and Rs 1.9 billion in 2050 at the current market rate, the study found.
The study said nine times the area of New Delhi could have been irrigated using the treated wastewater available in India for the irrigation sector in 2021.
Further, about Rs 966 billion would have been the revenue generated from the agricultural yield produced from this area of land, it said.
Over 6,000 metric tonnes (MT) of nutrients could have been recovered from the available treated wastewater in 2021, generating savings of more than Rs 50 million on account of the corresponding reduction in synthetic fertiliser use, it said.
India, presently, treats only 28 per cent of the total sewage it generates per day from the urban centres (CPCB 2021). Out of the 72,368 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage produced in urban centres, the actual treatment is of only 20,236 MLD (CPCB 2021).
Also Read: Ganga pollution: Pollution Board asks Uttar Pradesh to take strict action against industrial units, tanneries
Class I cities (those whose population is above 1,00,000) and class II cities (with populations of 50,000–99,999), which represent a major share (72 per cent) of the total urban population, produce an estimated 38,254 MLD of sewage, of which only 30 per cent is actually treated (CPCB 2021). The untreated wastewater is then discharged into freshwater bodies such as rivers.
The study said given the exponential amount of wastewater generated in the country, India has immense potential to meet the growing water demand across different sectors and improve the water environment with proper management.
Through this study, we intend to estimate the market potential for the reuse of treated wastewater (domestic sewage) at the national scale and make recommendations to strengthen the existing governance on reuse, it said.
The study pointed out that only a few states have identified the positive externalities associated with the treatment of wastewater and reuse.
These include improvement in the water quality of receiving natural water bodies and the associated public health impacts, it said.
The study also pointed out that there are only a few policies prioritise sectors for reuse.
Also, only a few policies classify treated wastewater (TWW) into ‘mandatory’ and ‘non-mandatory’ reuse. Most policies make only a brief recommendation on the technologies for wastewater treatment. A majority of the state policies that we reviewed do not provide details on the treatment process and technologies, it said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.