Karnataka Water Crises— Solutions + Observations with HPC & Suez Water Technologies


March 13, 2022
Report: Hindustan Times.

Socio-economics and climatology experts have noted that Bengaluru may have a severe drinking water deficit in the forthcoming years. A high carbon economy has caused the temperature to rise by 1°C. According to professor Krishna Raj of the Centre for Economic Studies and Policy, ISEC costs about 5% of the GDP.

June 4, 2022
Report: The Hindu

“During the past few years, the entire State witnessed extreme events in the Western Ghats and parts of the interior district. At the same time, there is a reduction in annual rainfall and a marginal increase in the number of rainy days in NIK and coastal regions, Manoj Rajan, Commissioner, KSDMA.

“The average temperature has shown an increasing trend, whereas the RH had a decreasing trend in most regions,” he said. Thunderstorms and lighting events have occurred more frequently in recent years, while the variability of southwest monsoon rainfall has increased significantly since 1960. Several districts are seeing an increase in prolonged dry periods with low or no rainfall or intermittent with short, intense spells of rain.

Multiple reports.
Multiple warnings.
But no solid, robust solutions in sight…

As the CEO & co-founder of an advisory firm operating in the sustainability space, my work revolves around water, among other sectors.
In short, devising strategic sustainable solutions that inspire judicious and better water usage for all is part of what I have been doing for over a decade.

In the light of the grim reality facing us, it’s paramount that stakeholders, especially businesses and the government, take note of the solutions suggested here and perhaps be inspired to take concrete steps to upturn what’s in store for us all…

The fact of the matter is the water crisis has only aggravated—summer flows in rivers have disappeared, groundwater tables have declined sharply with 58 talukas in the ‘over-exploited’ or ‘critical’ category, and pollution has increased in many locations. It is alarming that droughts have increased in the past few years. Severe waterlogging, and floodgates breaking down, rampant inflation of agricultural produce are nothing but indications of climate change.
While climate change is a more prominent topic, we focus on securing water availability here.

We need to urgently bring reforms to conserve water, reuse water and recover the water cost.
In association with one of my closest business associates, Suez Water Technologies & Solutions, I suggest, for starters, looking at how we can tackle water waste and build solutions that promote the reuse & recycling of waste water or sewage at the ground level.

1. Industrial Water Supply —
The National Policy states: any industry within 50 km of urban areas should use only treated sewage as their water source. We propose increasing this to 100 to 150 km in Karnataka. For this, Suez Canal is building several thousand kilometers of pipes for our Rural Water Supply network to ensure 24×7 water to our citizens.
Indeed, industries can have a few hundred kilometers to have the needed water.

2. Rejuvenation of Water Bodies —
All sewage treatment plants in Karnataka are suggested to follow the latest CPCB norms for discharge strictly.
The treated water should be used to recharge water bodies in our cities and towns. A few changes are needed while doing this, e.g., moving from chlorine to UV to disinfect sewage before discharge, which will be broadly discussed in the coming articles.

3. Local Reuse —
While the 73rd and 74th Constitution Amendment 1992 establishes the need for a three-tier Panchayat system at the village, intermediate and. district levels, and municipalities in the urban areas, respectively, to ensure reliable local water supply, this should extend to sewage treatment as well.

We must start the sewage treatment at the local level as we expand the reach of our rural water supply. When these water projects start and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan broadens the use of toilets, the sewage generation shall also go up, hence all the more necessary for local communities & authorities to take the responsibility of treating sewage as a resource at the local level.

We suggest setting up small package sewage treatment plants at the local level.
This package plant must be part of every rural water supply scheme, ensuring adequate water for toilet flushing while avoiding using fresh water.
We must also explore other local reuse opportunities.

4. Water and Sewage Treatment Plant Monitoring –

It’s known that the CPCB has mandated using online monitoring systems to ensure that plants are adequately functioning or not.

A similar approach must be enforced in Karnataka, with a centralized data gathering system in action that provides real-time data on treated sewage parameters.
This is akin to the Water Quality Monitoring Information System (WQIMS), which is the stated policy objective of the Jal Jeevan Mission.

We propose to make the WQIMS online and add flow and pressure parameters to the system. This will ensure proper water distribution and water management.

The observations above and solutions are barely scratching the surface.
However, the purpose here is to illustrate the importance of all stakeholders, especially business leaders, government aides & strategic advisors, to come together and help bring about a change, making our society a better place today and tomorrow.

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