Water and Wastewater Management

Water and Wastewater Management:


India’s fragile and finite water resources are depleting while the multi-sectoral demands for water from sustained economic growth (over 8%) is driving the increased demand for water through coupled dynamics between increased energy and consumption. Exponentially increasing demand for water due to population growth and agricultural use, coupled with a high degree of variability in the availability of water resources throughout the country, will drive per capita accessibility of water to under 1,000 cubic metres by 2020 if left unchecked.

Climate change and extreme climate variability are further likely to accentuate these numbers. The future evolution of the inter-sector shares is complex and uncertain; however, higher usage in the domestic and industrial domains is likely as the pace of economic development grows.


Wastewater Management in India has become an extremelyimportant area of focus due to increasing health awareness andpopulation pressure. Despite the wastewater sector witnessing majorgrowth in the last decade due to increasing government support and private participation, the scale of the problem remains enormous. Forinstance, it is estimated that less than 20% of domestic and 60%of industrial wastewater is treated. Metros and large cities (more than 100,000 inhabitants) are treating only about 29.2% of theirwastewater; smaller cities treat only 3.7% of their wastewater.

Policy and Regulatory Framework

As per the Indian Constitution, water is in the domain of the states with the central government only advising the states by issuing a non-binding National Water Policy. Despite this asymmetry, various schemes devised by the central government have had a significant effect on addressing the gaps in the access to freshwater. Lately, the schemes have had a reformist agenda, which has been coupled with direct financial assistance for water sector projects at the state level and as well as channeling multilateral finance into the sector.

The Ministry of Water Resources (MOWR) is the principal agency responsible for water in India and as such, oversees the planning and development of the resource from policy formulation to infrastructure support. Other central departments working in water are:

  • The Ministry of Agriculture:Watershed development and irrigation;
  • The Ministry of Environment and Forests: Water quality;
  • The Ministry of Rural Development:Watershed development and drinking water provision;
  • The Ministry of Industry:Industrial uses of water;
  • The Ministry of Urban Development:Urban drinking water provision and sanitation;
  • The Central Pollution Control Board:Water quality monitoring;
  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research:Development ofwater management techniques.

Within each state, the water sector is fragmented, with separate agencies responsible for irrigation, domestic and industrial watersupply. Supply to domestic consumers, especially in the urban areas,is further fragmented. Even within a state there can be different service arrangements and service delivery models, such as state-leveldepartmental supply, state-level autonomous boards, city-levelutilities and municipal departments. Crucially, in many instances, capital expenditure is the responsibility of a state-level entity, while the actual responsibility of service delivery rests with city municipalbodies, which makes even day-to-day management of the sectorunnecessarily complex which makes any reform or improvement difficult as the entire departments/boards/utilities are constantly infire-fighting modes to accomplish day-to-day activities.


India’s National Water Policy 2002 prioritizes water use in thefollowing order: drinking, irrigation, hydropower, ecology, agriculturaland non-agricultural industries, navigation and other uses. The policyalso encourages private participation in the planning and operation of water systems. The government is reviewing the policy in consultation with all stakeholders, and is expected to come out with the draft byearly 2012. The policy will specifically look into sustainable use ofwater, effects of climate change and rationalization of water pricing.
In addition to the National Water Policy 2002, the water sector isgoverned by the following environmental legislations, pollutioncontrol acts, and rules and notifications:

  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act (1974, amended in 1988);
  • The Water Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules, 1975;
  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) (Procedure for Transaction of Business) Rules, 1975;
  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Second Amendment Rules, 1976;
  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977as amended by Amendment Act, 1991;
  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Rules, 1978;
  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) AmendedRules, 1989.

The Key Drivers for Sector Growth

  • Increased awareness about drinking water quality and health;
  • Decreasing water quality and users having to go for ground water;
  • Reducing availability of water forcing users to go for reuse & recycling of water;
  • General industrial and economic growth particularly in the chemical, pharmaceutical, power plants, food and textile industry.

Sewage Treatment

Sewage treatment includes treating of water which contains waste generated by human beings
Municipal segment primarily invest in sewage water treatment
Segments like residential, industrial and commercial invest in sewage water treatment only if they are outside municipal limits or are required to do so (by law)
The norms, though formed by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), are enforced by the State Governments in India, are not uniform across the country

Effluent Treatment

Effluent treatment includes waste generated from the industrial segment
There are regulations and guidelines set by CPCB for various industries in India
Depending on the extent of regulation for each industrial segment, these segments decide on the process they want to invest in
Norms for waste water treatment are set by the CPCB, the enforcement is under State Govt.

Water and Wastewater Management:

Indian Water Management Outlook

According to World Bank, Indian Water sector industry is worth around USD1bn and is expected to grow 40-50% in next few years. By 2020 the demand of water in India will exceed the available sources of fresh water; Creative solutions are required such as reuse/recycle & efficient use to tackle this issue. The industrial use of water is predicted to increase from 30 to 120bn cum in 2025.

Potential opportunities

in water management in India include
  • Urban Water Infrastructure Municipal Supplies: EPC with Management, Bulk Supply on BOT etc.
  • Investments in urban infrastructure for Budgeted Year 2018-19 are:
    • For National Mission For Clean Ganga (NMCG) – INR 8,860 Crores
    • For Smart Cities – INR 6,169 Crores
    • For AMRUT – INR 6,000 Crores
    • For Swachh Bharat Mission – INR 17,843 Crores
    • For Rural Water Drinking Scheme (RWDS) – INR 8,860 Crores
      • • Under the AMRUT scheme, which aims to improve sanitation and drainage services in urban areas, a total of 574 septage management and sewerage projects involving an investment of INR 205 billion have been approved by the government