Current News

Weak systems and funding gaps jeopardize drinking-water and sanitation in the world’s poorest countries

August 28, 2019

 The World Health Organization (WHO) and UN-Water today sounded the alarm for an urgent increase in investment in strong drinking-water and sanitation systems.

The call came as the international water sector meets in Stockholm for its annual conference during World Water Week (25-30 August 2019). It is triggered by a new report published by WHO on behalf of UN-Water that reveals that weak government systems and a lack of human resources and funds are jeopardizing the delivery of water and sanitation services in the world’s poorest countries – and undermining efforts to ensure health for all.

“Too many people lack access to reliable and safe drinking-water, toilets and hand-washing facilities, putting them at risk of deadly infections and threatening progress in public health,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Water and sanitation systems don’t just improve health and save lives, they are a critical part of building more stable, secure and prosperous societies. We call on all countries that lack essential water and sanitation infrastructure to allocate funds and human resources to build and maintain it.”

The UN-Water Global Assessment and Analysis of Sanitation and Drinking-Water 2019 (known as the GLAAS report) surveyed 115 countries and territories, representing 4.5 billion people. It showed that, in an overwhelming majority of countries, the implementation of water, sanitation and hygiene policies and plans is constrained by inadequate human and financial resources. Nineteen countries and one territory reported a funding gap of more than 60% between identified needs and available funding. Less than 15% of countries have the financial or human resources needed to implement their plans.

“If we are to create a healthier, more equitable and stable society, then strengthening the systems to reach those currently living without safe and affordable water, sanitation and hygiene services must be a top priority,” says Mr Gilbert F Houngbo, Chair of UN-Water and President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development. “While we need to ensure that there is sufficient funding to tackle these critical challenges, it is equally important to continue reinforcing national delivery systems.”

While funding gaps and weak systems are holding many countries back, the report also found that countries have begun to take positive steps towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water and sanitation.

“The Sustainable Development Goals have inspired us to take concrete actions at the national level to increase access to sanitation,” says Mr David Molefha, Principal Water Engineer at the Ministry of Land Management Water and Sanitation Services in Botswana. “We have developed a sanitation roadmap and are working to eliminate open defecation. With these actions, we are working to improve peoples’ lives.”

About half of the countries surveyed have now set drinking-water targets that aim for universal coverage at levels higher than basic services by 2030, for example by addressing water quality and increasing access to water on premises. In addition, specifically targeting open defecation will have a dramatic impact on public and environmental health.

As the international authority on public health and water, sanitation and hygiene, WHO gathers scientific evidence, sets and monitors standards, and promotes best policies and practices for ensuring safe, reliable water, sanitation and hygiene for all people.

 

Source: World Health Organization


MCC to get U.N. funding for waste management projects

August 26, 2019

The projects will be implemented under the UNIDO’s Sustainable Cities Integrated Approach Pilot in India (SCIAP).

A team of senior officials from UNIDO was in the city last week and sought information about the various projects to be implemented by the MCC and has given its approval for project funding. Under the SCIAP, the MCC will remodel the existing compost plant at Vidyaranyapuram, install a waste-to-energy plant with a capacity of 300 tonnes per day at Rayanakere, and a small-scale bio-gas plant for disposing the market waste.

D.G. Nagaraju, Health Officer, MCC, said the UNIDO team had sought information on various projects of the MCC which are in line with the objectives of SCIAP to reduce green house gas emission.

A presentation was made on the proposed projects following which the UNIDO team from Austria issued its approval to release ₹10 crore for project implementation. Mysuru is among the five cities selected for the project implementation, apart from Jaipur, Bhopal, Vijayawada, and Guntur. The five cities were selected based on the criteria linked to levels of urban development, city service delivery challenges, size and geographic spread etc. This is part of the UNIDO’s global project to fund 38 cities in different countries to reduce greenhouse gas emission.

Dr. Nagaraju said the machinery for handling the wastes will be procured by the UNIDO based on the MCC’s specification and the project could get started within a month or two.

The existing machinery at sewage farm in Vidyaranyapuram was procured more than 20 years ago with funding from the Asian Development Bank.

Mysuru generates nearly 450 tonnes of waste daily of which 200 tonnes are converted to manure at the sewage farm in Vidyaranyapuram. If left untreated, the legacy waste accumulated over the last two decades will generate methane gas. To curb it the plant will be established at a cost of Rs. 103 crore.

“The MCC has in place plans and machinery to handle about 450 tons of waste daily while the legacy waste will be cleared over the next 12 months for which the tendering process has been completed,” said Dr. Nagaraju. There is a legacy waste of nearly 2 lakh tonnes accumulated in the city and once removed, Mysuru will be among the very few cities in the country to have a roboust waste management system in place.

MCC officials say the existing projects are also in tune with the Swachh Bharat Mission and would help Mysuru shore up its overall health and cleanliness index.

 

Source : The Hindu


IIT Guwahati researchers develop membranes that can separate oil and water

August 19, 2019

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati have developed two distinct and special membranes that can separate oil and water, even under harsh conditions. These membranes are super-water repellent in air and super oil-repellent in water. These can separate complex mixtures of oil and water at practically relevant settings. This kind of separation is important in environmental applications like oil spill management.

The research was undertaken by Uttam Manna at Department of Chemistry, IIT Guwahati along with his research team Avijit Das, Dibyangana Parbat and Arpita Shome. Their work recently been published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, the institute shared in a release.

The team has also developed a prototype of oil-water separation device using these membranes such that the separated oil and water were simultaneously collected in different containers.

“Oil-water separation is of current relevance because many industries, such as mining, textiles, food and petrochemicals, produce massive volumes of oily wastewater, which must be treated before discharge,” Manna said.

“There is yet another problem with conventional demonstration, where the superhydrophobic and superoleophobic materials are mostly used for two phase oil/water mixtures. However, those approaches are inappropriate for separation of three-phase mixtures of heavy oil, light oil and water,” he said.

 

Source: Economic Times


PM Modi’s speech on Independence Day concerns water to households

August 15, 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said more than Rs 3.5 lakh crore will be spent in the coming years under the Jal Jeevan Mission to bring piped water to households.

In his Independence Day address, Modi said half of the country’s households do not have access to piped water.

Exuding confidence that in a few weeks India will be able to declare itself open-defecation free, he credited states, villages and local bodies for building a strong campaign towards it.

Modi said in the last 70 years, different governments at the Centre as well as the state level worked at their own level but the reality is nearly half of the households in the country do not have access to drinking water.

He said people, especially women, have to walk miles to get drinking water.
“I want to announce from the Red Fort that we will move forward with Jal Jeevan Mission. The Centre and states will work towards it and in the coming years, more than Rs 3.5 lakh crore will be spent,” the prime minister said.

He said all efforts will be done to conserve water and rejuvenate water sources.

Modi said for water conservation, efforts need to quadruple in the next five years as to what was done in the last seven decades.

The government has resolved to provide piped water to all households by 2024. It has clubbed all erstwhile water related ministries under one new Jal Shakti Ministry.

In her Budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the new ministry will look at the management of water resources and water supply in an integrated and holistic manner, and will work with states to ensure Har Ghar Jal (piped water supply) to all rural households by 2024 under the Jal Jeevan Mission.

In his speech, Modi, quoting Saint Thiruvalluvar from Tamil Nadu, said if water gets over, the work of nature stops and it results in destruction.

Stressing on the importance of saving water, Modi said Jain monk Buddhi Sagar, some 100 years ago, had predicted that water will be sold in grocery shops and today, people buy water from such shops.

He also emphasised that the Jal Jeevan Mission should not be a government initiative alone. “Just like Swachch India Mission, this should also be a mission of the people,” Modi said.

Source: Economic Times

Desalination: It is a big money game!

August 7, 2019.

How big is desalination in India?  That is hard to tell because one is confronted with two different sets of numbers.

One source is a document prepared by a Gujarat government brochure of 2017 inviting investors to build desalination plants in Bhavnagar and Mundra. It gives out data which many industry players believe is quite credible.  Of course, it must be admitted that ever since the preparation of this document, the ambitions of the state government have grown. The present chief minister talks about his state setting up 10 desalination plants.

Another good source is the Indian Desalination Association.  According to the latter, there could be more than 1,000 membrane-based desalination plants (the more popular technology) of various capacities ranging from 20 m3/day to 10,000 m3/day.

This flies in the face of figures given out by the Gujarat government document — “As of 2013, India has 182 desalination plants operating majorly in western and southern parts and is expected to increase to over 500 by 2017.”  It is quite possible that the Gujarat government documents only lists large plants, and not experimental or small plants.

However, the government document does confirm that membrane based desalination plants are more popular – around 85% of the plants use this technology which is known to be 23% cheaper than the use of thermal technology. This document also talks about how many big players in India have been eyeing this sector – some names include Nirma, Gujarat Heavy Chemicals and Indian Rayon  — to meet their captive requirement for water.

Desalination costs:

But why should companies opt for desal water? Simple. Desal water is cheaper than the water provided by the state for chemical process industries.  True, desal water is much more expensive than the natural water states get from aquifers, lakes and rain water that is stored.  But it is much cheaper than the exorbitant price tags state governments like to put on water for business or industrial use, hoping to use the additional money to cross-subsidise free water to vote banks.

In Mumbai, for instance, while the cost of fresh water supplied through pipes is just under 0.8 paise a litre, the price the government wants industry to pay the state charges industries is around Rs.4.8 per cubic metre (1,000 litres) for normal processing industries, but Rs 120 per cubic metre for industries where water itself is a raw material (bottled water, carbonated drinks etc) and for chemical industries. The latter comes to around 12 paise per litre.

This is significantly higher than cost of desal water (inclusive of interest and depreciation, but without including the cost of environmental damage and loss to sea life).

So, how much does desal water cost?

In July 2010, desalination cost around $1 per cubic metre. And given the exchange rate of Rs.50 per dollar then, the cost was 5 paise per litre.  But even then Igal Aisenberg, then CEO and president of Netafim, the world’s largest micro irrigation company did mention how “newer technologies have permitted this cost to come to under half-a-dollar per cubic metre.  We believe that these costs will go down further.”

This is confirmed by a recent (March 8, 2019) report by Bloomberg that the cost of producing one cubic metre of treated water could be around 50 cents. At today’s exchange rate (Rs.70=$1), that would come to around 3.5 paise per litre.

 

A hint of corruption

And this is where one begins to suspect that the hype over desalination could have a lot to do with money.  Two factors point in that direction.

First, there is a lot of money involved in setting up projects for state and central governments.  The Gujarat government estimates the costs to be around Rs.387 crore for a 100 MLD (million litres a day) membrane-based plant  (and this is after capitalisation of five years of working capital requirement). True, there is a caveat that plant costs could vary, there has to be some excellent justification for the varying costs.

Yet, many of the desalination plants set up by private players for governments (they are invariably set up by private players in India) have a higher price tag.  For instance, the price at which Essel Infraprojects wants to set up a 100 mld desalination plant in Gujarat is expected to cost double this sum – Rs. 700 crore. Or consider Tamil Nadu’s plans to set up  two desalination plants at Nemmelli and Minjur, each of 100 MLD capacity, another 400 MLD capacity plant is being set up at Perur. These plants too are at significantly higher costs.  According to one media report, each 10 MLD desalination plant in “would cost around Rs 140 crore. The three plants will cost over Rs 420 crore.”

 

And the price at which Tamil Nadu procures desalinated water is well over 10 paise a litre compared to the cost of 3.5 to 5 paise a litre.  A five paise difference translates into Rs.50 lakh a day for a 100 MLD plant.  That translates into Rs.182 crore each year for each 100 MLD plant.  As the procurement prices increase, the numbers grow uncomfortably larger too.  When multiplied into the number of plants, the sums could be scandalous

Significantly, the Niti Aayog proposal mentions neither normative capital costs nor normative pricing for desal water.  As a think tank it should have done that as well.

In brief

Niti Aayog should have made a case for better metering, working out consumption estimates, making a case for preventing contamination of existing freshwater sources – rivers, ponds, lakes, the sea and even ground water.  It should have talked about ways to harvest water on a public-private-partnership basis. It ought to have made a case for pricing of water in a sensible but sustainable manner.

As had been pointed out by Madhav Gadgil in his report on environment in the Western Ghats of India, there are times when unscrupulous industrialists try to conceal effluent discharge by pumping it into the ground.  There are instances of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and its state affiliates actually ignoring enforcement of a zero discharge policy for all highly polluting companies. Niti Aayog should have put up a note on how to strengthen monitoring mechanisms – even using third-party inspections by reputed global organisations like the SGS.

That would have given India more water than all the proposed desalination plants.

Instead of doing this, it is sad to see a body like Niti Aayog actually advocating a disastrous policy of putting up desalination plants along the country’s coastline. Such a move will destroy environment, livelihoods of fisherfolk, and burden India with a huge import cost. It will divert the attention of policymakers away from the actual things that need to be done.

The sooner such a recommendation is scrapped, the better.

Source: Moneycontrol


Kaleshwaram project in double-quick time! Irrigation, drinking water project to resolve Telangana’s water woes

July 29, 2019

In what promises great relief to a parched state, the Telangana government inaugurated late last month the
Rs 80,000-crore Kaleshwaram mega irrigation and drinking water project, conceived with the ambitious target of irrigating over 1.25 crore acres of land and meeting the agricultural, drinking and industrial needs of 70% of districts in Telangana. Pumping of water through the system is to begin next month, provided the region receives adequate rainfall.

Seeking to revamp the irrigation system in the state, it was only on May 2, 2016 that Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao laid the foundation stone for the project which is estimated to make available nearly 235 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water. The project has been designed to irrigate over 40 lakh acres of land in its first phase, with 2 TMC of water being drawn every day for 90 days a year.

To create a storage capacity of 141 TMC in the first phase, three barrages, 19 reservoirs, and 20 lifts have been constructed under the project. Round-the-clock work is presently underway to build 1,531 km of main canals under 12 blocks and 203 km of tunnels, with 4,000 workers being deployed for the purpose.

Vital to this irrigation infrastructure that would lift water from the river Godavari and supply it to 23 districts of Telangana is the Medigadda Barrage. Water from Godavari would be lifted at Medigadda, about 100 m above the sea level, in six stages and supplied to Kondapochamma Sagar, at a height of 618 m from the sea level. Pump houses of a capacity hitherto unseen in India are being constructed to lift 2 TMC of water every day this year—this would be upped to 3 TMC next year.

The first phase of the project would see water being supplied for two crops over an area of 40 lakh acres every year, which translates into an overall area of 80 lakh acres every year. It is estimated that 4,992.47 MW of power would be required to lift 2 TMC water, with the figure going up to 7,152 MW for 3 TMC of water every day.

Says B Srinivas Reddy, director, Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd (MEIL), which has executed the largest chunk of what is billed as the largest lift irrigation project in the world, “on average, we managed 1 lakh CuM of earthwork per day, completing 8.62 lakh CuM of concrete work in just 22 months. The company also laid 39,700 tonnes of underground pipes in 18 months.” Highlighting the uniqueness of the pump houses being constructed at Medigadda, he says, “twin tunnels have been constructed parallel to each other, excavating earth over a diameter of 10.5 m and length of 4,133 m. The surge pool and additional surge pools of this pump house are the biggest in the world. This is also the first time such constructions have been made underground.”

Work at Medigadda was executed on a fast-track basis and the 1.6-km-long barrage across the Godavari is equipped with 85 gates, piers and associated guide bunds and flood bunds of 18.03 km on either side. “The terrain and conditions were extremely challenging but we were able to deliver as per our client’s requirements,” said SV Desai, executive vice president & head—Heavy Civil Infrastructure, L&T Construction – which built the barrage – at its inauguration. “Considering the speed of execution, we set quite a few world records in the process: 16,722 cm of concrete poured in a day, 25,584 cm in 72 hours and 1,94,081 cm in a month are all achievements without parallel in the Indian construction industry. We also yoked the enormous benefits of digitalisation for the successful execution of this project,” he added.

Source: Financial express


Google to contribute a lot to creating awareness about India’s water shortage: Jal Shakti Ministry

July 23, 2019

Bharat zameen ka tukda nahi, jeeta jagta rashtrapurush hai (India is not a piece of land, it is a living, breathing being), says Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, the minister of the newly-created Jal Shakti ministry, at the start of a presentation on water conservation for BJP MPs.

The presentation, held at the BJP Parliamentary meeting Tuesday, was meant to provide a roadmap for water conservation in the country under the Jal Shakti scheme, one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet projects in his second term.

Instead, it descended into a demonstration on how the scheme’s keywords have successfully trended on Google Analytics and the Twitter impressions they have created, all the while interspersed with paeans to Prime Minister Modi, “the baton holder for water conservation globally”.

With a smattering of cliches here and there, the thrust of the presentation remained on how water conservation has become a social media phenomenon in India ever since Modi began talking about it in his Mann ki Baat on 30 June.

’26 million impressions for the #JanShakti4JalShakti

According to the presentation, there have been over 26 million impressions for the #JanShakti4JalShakti since 30 June. “Google trends suggest that most people now associate water with Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the presentation said.

“Google Trends shows a historic jump in the interest of the nation towards water conservation after Mann ki Baat and Jal Shakti Abhiyan,” it added.

Rather curiously, the presentation stated that the “source of inspiration for the Jal Shakti Ministry” is the suggestions thrown up by Google when one types “India sanitation” or “India water.”

According to the presentation, the suggestions currently thrown up by Google when one types “India sanitation” in 2019 include “crisis”, “problem”, “open defecation”, and “diseases” among others.

But by 2024, the newly created ministry is hopeful that the suggestions thrown up by Google would include “success story”, “water in every tap”, “India water secure”, among others. The ministry has termed these Google suggestions its “vision”.

The presentation also ends how it starts — with a picture of the PM with folded hands standing next to water along with a quote from his 30 June speech. “Jab hum ek-jut hokar, mazbooti se prayas karte hain toh asambhav ko bhi sambhav kar sakte hain. Jab jan-jan judega, jal bachega (When we strive together for something, even the impossible becomes possible. When people come together, then we will be able to save water).”

Source: The Print


Xiaomi Mi Water TDS tester launches in India

July 23, 2019

To celebrate its fifth anniversary in India Xiaomi launches Mi Water TDS tester on Tuesday. The Mi Water TDS tester comes to India for Rs 349. Interested buyers should know that Mi Water TDS tester is currently in crowdfunding in the country. To buy the Mi Water TDS tester you can visit this link and book one.

Should you buy the Mi Water TDS tester for Rs 349? I would recommend going for it because it seems like a product every home requires. The Mi Water TDS tester will help users monitor the water you consume. Right now the water tester is in crowdfunding but like other products we expect Xiaomi to make the Mi Water TDS tester available on open sale.

The Mi Water TDS tester comes in just one colour — white — and looks slick and handy. All you need to do is put LRP 44 batteries inside the Mi Water TDS tester and dip it inside a cup filled with tap water to find the TDS level. Xiaomi claims Mi Water TDS tester is accurate and reliable. The company further notes, Mi Water TDS tester helps detect the amount of total dissolved solids and alert users if the water they use on a regular basis to cook and drink reaches unhealthy levels. The Mi Water TDS tester shows the ppm value on the LCD screen fitted on the Mi Water TDS tester.

Xiaomi claims Mi Water TDS tester can detect solvents like soluble salts, ionic organic and heavy metal ions in water and alert the users. One of the biggest highlights is the Mi Water TDS tester is IPX6 certified, this means it is waterproof. Xiaomi claims precision-made sensor is designed to effectively resist rust and corrosion and functions in a temperature range between 0 to 8-degree Celsius. Xiaomi further clarifies that Mi Water TDS tester can be used to test tap water, boiled water, bottled water, reservoir water, filtered water, and aquarium water.

The Mi Water TDS tester is battery operated. It works on LR44 batteries. The Mi Water TDS tester comes with an energy-saving chipset that automatically switches off post 2minutes of inactivity. Notably, the batteries can be replaced.

Xiaomi has informed to begin shipping of Mi Water TDS tester on July 25. The company will charge Rs 50 as shipping charge. So, you’ll need to pay Rs 399 including shipping charges for the Mi Water TDS tester.

Source: India Today


Government eyes reduction in farm water use

July 22, 2019

The Narendra Modi government is likely to aggressively push for less consumption of water in agriculture as a key priority in its second term in office in keeping with the Centre’s thrust on conservation of the scare resource, officials familiar with the matter said.

A committee of secretaries (CoS), formed under directions of the PM, to look into agriculture and related matters, is set to emphasise on the need to cut down on water usage on crops, especially paddy and sugar-cane, in its report to the cabinet secretary. Soon after coming to power for the second term, Modi formed around 10 committees of secretaries (CoS) to look into major issues and vet schemes before the Union cabinet would take the final call on those matters.

The water ministry, a part of the CoS on agriculture and rural development, has pitched for less water for crops as a high priority issue. It has suggested production of alternative crops, and financial incentives to farmers for optimal water usage. “The water requirement for agriculture is considerably high in India. Out of our total groundwater availability, we use 6% for domestic use and another 5% for industrial purposes. The remaining 89% goes for agriculture. Our studies say that to grow one kilogramme of paddy, we consume 5,600 litres of water whereas China produces the same amount of paddy with just 330-400 litres of water,” Union minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Shekhawat, said on Sunday.

“We have to re-look at our water consumption, especially when there is a severe water crisis in many parts of the country,” Shekhawat said, pointing out that of the 178.7 million rural households in the country, only 32.7 million or 18% got drinking water from tap connections.

Modi has called for a mass movement on water conservation along the lines of Swachh Bharat, flagging concern over depleting water levels in the country. In his first Mann ki Baat after his government retained power in the national polls this summer, Modi urged upon all citizens to create awareness on water conservation, share knowledge of “traditional methods” to conserve water and highlight success stories on conservation. The recent Economic Survey stated that “By 2050, India will be in the global hot spot for ‘water insecurity’.”

India is the second-largest producer of rice after China. And the two Asian giants contribute nearly half of the world’s total rice production. But the recent Economic Survey pointed out that around 89% of groundwater extracted is used for irrigation and crops such as paddy and sugarcane consume more than 60% of irrigation water.

The survey said, “Focus should shift from land productivity to ‘irrigation water productivity’. Therefore devising policies to incentivise farmers to improve water use should become a national priority. Thrust should be on micro-irrigation that can improve water use efficiency.”

A senior official added that for sugarcane, India consumes less water than the global average but is less efficient than South Africa and Thailand. “On average, India gets around 5.2 kg of sugarcane in one cubic metre of water. This is better than the global average of 4.80 kg/m3. But South Africa produces up to 7.8 kg with the same quantity of water and Thailand gets between 5.8 and 6.5 kg/m3 of water.”

The CoS is expected to submit its report shortly with action points and new policy proposals. Modi also wants the CoS to identify areas where “impactful decisions” can be taken in the near future. According to a member of that panel, water consumption in agriculture is likely to be one such area.

Achirangshu Acharya, economist with Viswabharati University, said, “Worldwide water is fast becoming a shrinking resource. It’s about time that India changes its water habits. Indian agriculture needs to depend on newer technologies to reduce dependence on groundwater. We can’t be a net-importer of water in the agriculture market.”

Shekhawat added that rationalisation of water can only be done with the help of the states. “In Punjab farmers get free power to use pumps to extract groundwater. The state government has started a scheme whereby farmers are given cash incentives if they consume less electricity in agricultural fields. Lower use of pumps means less extraction of groundwater. In Maharashtra, farmers are encouraged to use drip irrigation for sugar-cane cultivation. It is also a proven fact that sugar-cane fed by drip irrigation has better sugar yield. So, we need the help of all states to address the issue of over-exploitation of water,” the minister said.

Source: Hindustan Times


Potential of India’s water structure scheme estimated at $270 Billion

July 18, 2019

The natural resource finds a mention in the Union budget, in NITI Aayog’s dire predictions of metros running dry and, now, in the calculations of private sector infrastructure players looking to make a buck.

A report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, released on Tuesday, estimates that India needs to pump in $270 billion (about 18.5 trillion) over the next 5-15 years to meet its ambitions of piped water supply to all homes by 2024, cleaning the Ganga, interlinking rivers to redirect water to water-scarce regions and irrigation projects.

Brokerage firm JM Financial says the government’s Nal Se Jal scheme for piped water supply alone will need 6.3 trillion in investment.

In her budget speech, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Jal Shakti Ministry—which will combine the operations of the erstwhile water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation ministries—will work with states to ensure every rural house gets piped water by 2024.

For context, only 18.3% of rural households have piped water supply today. The budget— 9,150.36 crore for the National Rural Drinking Water Programme—is a 69% increase in allocation from the previous year.

The investment isn’t going to come without the private sector pitching in. In a July 14 interview to the Indian Express, Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said the government is examining the public-private partnership model for water infra projects. This includes BOT (build, operate and transfer), DBOT (design, build, operate and transfer) and the hybrid annuity model (HAM), the last of which successfully brought in private capital and ramped up the speed at which highways were built in India.

Sandeep Garg, managing director and CEO, Welspun Enterprises, said in an interview the highway developer has started bidding for water projects as well.

“We’re looking at projects in sewage treatment, bulk water transmission and seawater desalination, either under the HAM or EPC model. We have already participated in bids for projects in sewage treatment and lift irrigation and we expect to win the first project in about three months.”

“While water is a state subject, there is a very strong presence of the Central government in Namami Gange and the river interlinking projects,” an infrastructure consultant told Mint on the condition of anonymity. “With 13 large projects on the anvil, river interlinking is going to be a huge opportunity but there is no clarity as of now on how this is going to be implemented. If these projects are to happen, river interlinking alone will need lakhs of crores in investment.

“What the private sector is more keen on will be smaller projects with a lot less risk involved,” he said.

Source: Livemint


Assam Floods Hit Food And Drinking Water Supply In State, 5.8 Million People Displaced

July 18, 2019

Many thousands in the state are making do with only the most meagre food supplies and dirty water. At least 5.8 million people have been displaced – a million more than on Monday – and some 30 have died in the past two weeks in the tea-growing state of Assam due to the monsoon rains, local government officials said.

“The water level of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries have started showing a rising trend since midday and flowing above the danger mark in at least 10 places,” an Assam Disaster Management Authority official said.

Many thousands in the state are making do with only the most meagre food supplies and dirty water. “We’ve just been surviving on boiled rice for almost seven days now,” said Anamika Das, a mother at Amtola relief camp in Assam’s Lakhimpur district. She said she was having difficulty breastfeeding her baby boy.

Assam has been the worst-affected part of India. Floods have also hit neighbouring Nepal and Bangladesh. At least 153 people have been killed in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Parts of Pakistan have also seen flooding. Subhas Bania, also sheltering at Amtola, said authorities had made no provision for the supply of drinking water. “We’ve been forced to drink muddy water,” he said.

The rains in north India usually last from early June to October, with the worst of the flooding usually later in the season. Assam is frequently swamped by floods when the Brahmaputra river, which flows down from the Himalayas through northeast India and Bangladesh, sweeps over its banks. Water levels on the river and its major tributaries were beginning to fall, although they were still above the danger mark, the government said. “We’re trying our best to reach out to the affected people in whatever way possible but yes, the situation is indeed very bad,” said Assam’s Social Welfare Minister Pramila Rani Brahma.

The government has yet to assess the impact of the floods that have battered thousands of settlements. Bhabani Das, a village elder in Golaghat district, who has been living under a plastic sheet for four days, said the flood had swept away his home. “Where do we go from here?”

In the state of Bihar, which has also been hit by severe flooding, beginning last week, officials said that flood waters were beginning to recede after killing 33 people. “Things are gradually becoming normal, people are returning home,” Bihar’s Disaster Management Minister Lakshmeshwar Roy said. Water levels in four rivers in Bangladesh, including the Brahmaputra, were above the danger mark, with some northern parts of the low-lying country flooded. Road and railway links between the capital city Dhaka and at least 16 northern and northwest districts had been severed, officials said.

Source: Huffington Post


Weather variations and Climate Change are causing water problems around different Indian States

July 17, 2019

The biggest challenge at the moment is to make drinking water available for everyone as several parts of India are quickly going dry. The monsoon rains are trying to make up for the deficit due to its delay but there are cities still staring at a severe water crisis soon.

Assam flood: Parts of Assam are reeling under flood as heavy rain has continued over the past three days, affecting thousands of people. Close to 145 villages across eight districts of the state are submerged and nearly 63,000 people have been affected due to the deluge.

Hyderabad running out of water: Monsoon is here but there are still several cities that are yet to receive rainfall. The monsoon rains are trying to make up for the deficit due to its delay but there are cities still staring at a severe water crisis soon. Come August end this year and Hyderabad could lose all its drinking water. According to a report in Times of India, reservoirs are not receiving fresh inflows from the scanty rains in the catchment areas because of which Hyderabad is staring at a severe and extreme water crisis.

Bihar Flood: Six north Bihar districts bordering Nepal were declared flood affected by the state disaster management department on Saturday as torrential rains lashed the catchment areas upstream. As the number of rivers flowing above the danger mark increased from five to six. Flood-affected villagers use a boat to take a patient to hospital from their inundated village at Mithan Sharay in Muzaffarpur.

Nagaland flood: An Indian boy wades through a flooded area at Ragailong colony following monsoon rains in Dimapur, in the northeastern Indian state of Nagaland.

Nagpur Drought: Farmers of Vidarbha are fighting with their backs to the wall due to delayed monsoon in the region. The farmers are reeling under an acute scarcity of rain and are desperately waiting for the monsoon rain spells to bless their parched lands.

Bengaluru water crisis: Chennai might not be the only city that could face a water crisis. Neighbouring Karnataka’s capital Bengaluru too could soon face a similar water crisis. In Bengaluru too, the main reason is the below average monsoons. Karnataka has so far registered a 30 percent rain deficit this year so far. And its effects are already showing.

Mumbai: Monsoon has arrived and Mumbai is receiving heavy rainfall. Normal life in the financial capital has been completely disrupted and like every year, this year too water logging is common and so are the resultant traffic jams.

Lucknow heavy rains: Waterlogging in different areas of city after heavy rain Area-Charbagh. The water level of river Gomti is rising even without substantial rain, scene opposite Chattar Manzil (CDRI) in Lucknow.

 Chennai water crisis: Millions of residents in Chennai, India’s sixth biggest city, have no access to clean water due to worst drought in the states in decades.  The lack of rainfall last year and late arrival of monsoon this year has led to city’s major reservoirs running dry.

New Delhi dust storm: For last few days Delhi experienced haze and high pollution level due to dust storm effect from Rajasthan and monsoon rain paused. 

Prayagraj Heavy rain: Heavy rains have created flood-like situation in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj. Due to continuous heavy rain, roads are submerged in water, affecting the traffic.

Source: The Economic Times


Mumbai sees rain but threat still looms

July 16, 2019

Thane district’s Modak Sagar and Tansa lakes, which provide water to Mumbai, are almost full thanks to the monsoon. In light of the fact that these lakes’ dams are close to the overflow mark, seventy-five villages situated along river banks in Palghar and Thane districts have been put on alert.

The Thane Municipal Corporation Regional Disaster Management Cell issued the alert on the basis of information forwarded by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, which operates the Modak Sagar and Tansa dams in Shahapur area.

“Authorities in both the districts have been asked to alert villagers along the shoreline of the Tansa and banks of the Vaitarna river regarding possible flooding,” a civic official said.

According to the corporation’s statement, the present water level of Modak Sagar dam is 160.842 metres, while its overflow level is 163.147 metres. Also, the water level of Tansa is 126.781 metres while its overflow level is 128.62 metres.

However, the villagers of Palghar and Shahpur say the alert is issued every year as the Vaitarna — on which the Modak Sagar lake is located — and the Tansa overflow after the dams are filled due to which water makes its way into the villages.

Prakash Khodaka, a resident of Shahpur said, “When the rivers overflows, water enters the homes of villagers along the rivers — especially in Ganeshpuri and Vijaynagri. The villagers then shift temporarily to interior areas. The high alert has been issued in advance. The Tansa and Modak Sagar dams have reached above 75 per cent of their total capacity and soon will overflow.”

The Shahpur takula is home to three dams that supply Mumbai city with water everyday.

Source: The Star


Chennai Engineers Develop Nozzles To Cut Water Wastage By 95%, Save 35 Litres/Day

July 16, 2019

In Chennai, meanwhile, a group of engineering graduates from the Madras Institute of Technology (MIT), have already built two types of nozzles for your taps through their startup, Earth Fokus. They claim that these devices can help cut down water wastage by a whopping 95 per cent.

Using atomization technology, these nozzles release water from your tap in the form of a mist-like spray. They can reduce water flow from 12 litres a minute to 600 millilitres a minute.
In other words, you can save up to 35 litres of water a day by simply attaching these nozzles to your kitchen or bathroom taps!

Speaking to The Better India, Arun Subramanian, the founder, describes some of the key features. “These products are made out of 100 per cent brass, not plastic. We wanted to use brass because it works better in terms of quality, and water conditions in our country differ from state to state, and even in areas in the same state. We wanted a nozzle that could sustain hard water (like in Chennai or Bengaluru) for a long time,” says Arun.

Earth Fokus is an accidental startup, claims Arun. He didn’t plan on starting this company. During his time in college, he loved inventing things like smart dustbins. After college, he took a six-month break, during which time, the automobile engineer was approached by his neighbour Najeeba Zabeer, an environmentalist.

Najeeba wanted a water-saving device for her kitchen. She told him that she wanted to save more water than was possible with the regular water-saving devices available in the market. Arun then thought of developing a product which could facilitate atomization, a process that engineers had developed in the 1950s.

Explaining the device, he says, “The nozzle atomizes water into fine gentle mist. By doing that, you save more than 95 per cent of the water, depending on the pressure of the released water. If the water pressure is above 1 bar, you’re saving water up to 98 per cent. If the pressure is 2 or 3 bars, the water savings range from 95-97 per cent.”
Normally, about 600 ml of water is used in a single hand wash. According to the United Nations, about 350 ml of this is being wasted. Now consider that this simple nozzle reduces the water used in a single hand wash to only 15 to 20 ml!
After buying a couple of sprinklers online, he understood how they worked, besides figuring that their water-saving feature wasn’t very great.

“Subsequently, I did some research before I started the company. In six months, I developed my first prototype, which I tested with my neighbours. Initially, they asked me to remove it because the product was terrible. So, I had to fine-tune it. After much tweaking and testing, we finally came to a point where we could wash our hands in the fine mist. After showing it to my Professor from MIT, he suggested that I commercialise it. This was two years back. My mentor (Najeeba) eventually gave me some capital, and told me to start the company in 2017,” recalls Arun.
Eventually, he turned his father’s automobile workshop on East Coast Road in Chennai into a facility which housed their laboratory and office.

Developing this product brought out the environmentalist in him. During his research, Arun understood what water scarcity situation was going to look like in the future. Najeeba had predicted the current Chennai water crisis back then.

Making money from selling these nozzles isn’t a bad thing, but that’s not entirely what his venture was about, insists Arun. “You have to make sure the product sells, and people use it. That’s what motivated me to develop it. That’s why I started this work,” he argues.

So, how do these nozzles work? For example, the barber who sprays water on your hair uses the process of automization. The nozzles that Arun created atomize water by converting one drop into a lot of droplets. Under normal water flow, when you wash your hands, only one layer cleans your hand, while other layers just flow into the drain. Even if we try to be stringent, we end up wasting water.

Atomization creates only one layer of water on your hand. Every drop coming out of the tap is directed towards cleaning your hand and only then does it go into the drain. It’s not only about how much water you save, but also how effectively you wash your hands or clean your utensils.

“With a greater surface area coverage, you can get your utensils cleaned in much less time. Moreover, the force of the mist ensures that tough stains are scrubbed efficiently too,” says the company website.
Following successful demonstrations, many corporations in Chennai began approaching Earth Fokus, starting with Cognizant. They were the first ones to install these nozzles before the water scarcity hit Chennai, and thus, prepared for the current crisis.

“One office building can save close to 7,000 litres a day, and the Cognizant facility alone has three buildings. Thus, one facility can save nearly 20,000-21,000 litres a day. In a year, they can achieve savings of up to one crore litres. That’s the difference,” says Arun.

In a statement, Cognizant claimed, “We have installed special nozzles into washbasin taps that help us make the best use of available water. These nozzles reduce the water flow to a mist, bringing down water consumption by 80% and preventing wastage.”

Earth Fokus has two kinds of products—QuaMist and EcoMist. QuaMist is an easy-to-install nozzle with a cap, which takes about 30 seconds to retrofit into your kitchen or bathroom tap. The installation doesn’t need the expertise of a plumber.

“Twisting the cap will allow you to control the flow of water. The cap converts the mist into a high-pressure steady stream while still saving more than 85 per cent water. The spray radius can be manipulated by slowly rotating the cap anti-clockwise,” says the company website.

The second and more popular product is the EcoMist, a nozzle which goes inside the tap. Once installed, it is difficult to remove. According to the company, the EcoMist can help save around 95 per cent of water, giving only 0.5 LPM (litres per minute) compared to the regular discharge of 10 LPM. This, too, is easy to install.

Learning their long-overdue lessons, many major IT companies are buying Earth Fokus’ products. Thus far, they have sold 8,000 EcoMists which cost Rs 550 per piece, besides 1,500-2,000 QuaMists, which sell at Rs 660 apiece. They will soon move into the incubation centre at IIT-Madras. If you want to save water, buying these nozzles for your home isn’t a bad place to start.

Source: The Better India


Tirupati’s clock ticks away as water starts running out

July 15, 2019

The ticking time bomb is hardly noticed. On the face of it, water scarcity is merely perceived in the form of empty pitchers and women forming queues before water tankers. There is more to the issue than meets the eye. Tirumala-Tirupati is in for a severe shock, as the temple city will run out of water in a month, if the monsoon continues to remain elusive.

At present, the denizens receive water in their taps once in three days. With Kalyani dam reaching the dead storage level, the city’s western parts are also supplied the Telugu Ganga water, which is made available for the eastern and southern parts.

Dwindling fast

Water is currently drawn from the dead storage in Kandaleru reservoir (Nellore district) and pumped into Kailasagiri storage tank near Srikalahasti, from where it is pumped to Tirupati. There is an off-take point near Gudur from where water is also shared to Gudur town, making things worse for Tirupati. Since the Gudur off-take point is nearly 80 km away, laying a full-fledged pipeline to Kailasagiri not only comes at an exorbitant cost, but also does not serve the immediate purpose.

Apart from the requirements of the denizens, it is the arrival of pilgrims that necessitates special attention on dedicated water supply to the city. Water storage in projects atop Tirumala hills is also dwindling fast, leaving no option but to pump water from downhill. The demand for allocation of Srisailam water exclusively for Tirupati, as a special case, has been in the air for quite some time, but never taken forward. Unless the government takes a serious view of the situation, Tirupati is likely to be in deep trouble.

Borewells being dug

On its part, the Municipal Corporation of Tirupati (MCT) has written to the State government, seeking release of additional water from Srisailam and also additional pumping from the Gudur off-take point.

“We are sinking more borewells to address the urgent issue and are keeping our fingers crossed for the monsoon to set in,” MCT Commissioner P.S. Girisha has told The Hindu.

There appears to be no initiative to take forward the Mallimadugu and Balaji reservoir projects. Mallimadugu is almost ready, while the Balaji project is mired in forest clearance hitch.

Source: The Hindu


Nal se Jal’ plan: Water, sanitation may attract Rs 6.3L cr investment in next 5 yrs

July 14, 2019

The investments will be made in the various verticals such as pipes, EPC, water treatment pumps and valves, cement, among others, according to the report.

“Our study of sample projects in water and sanitation and interactions with water-related policy experts indicate per capita investment spending could range around Rs 8,000-9,000 for providing piped water access. This would amount to the spending of at least Rs 5.6 trillion-6.3 trillion over FY20-25, and would be almost double of the spending on water and sanitation over FY14-19,” the report said.

It further said that there are wide variations in the estimated investments across the states and will depend on the quantity of available drinking water, quality of water for drinking purposes, geography and terrain. The cost varied from Rs 18,000 in the hilly state of Uttarakhand to Rs 3,000 in Karnataka.
Besides, east and central states would account for the bulk of investment in the piped drinking water project, the report noted.

In the budget, the Jal Shakti Ministry, which is executing the government’s mission to provide clean and piped drinking water to every household in the country, has earmarked Rs 28,261.59 crore for the scheme. 

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Ministry of Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation have been merged into the Jal Shakti Ministry in the second term of the Narendra Modi government.

Source: Economic Times


First 50-Wagon Train Carrying Water For Chennai Arrives In Parched City

July 12, 2019

Based on slots available for movement of these trains the capacity could go up,” said a railway official.

Southern Railways will charge Chennai Metro Water Rs.7.5 lakh for each trip. The Tamil Nadu government has allotted Rs. 65 crore for this project.

Officials say the trains took around five hours to reach Chennai’s Villivakkam, 220 km away, from where water is being pumped to the Kilpauk Water Works, the pumping station that distributes water to localities in the city.

However, the water supply by train would not increase supply to Chennai. It will only ease the pressure on the state government to ensure a minimum supply of 525 million litres to residents against the requirement of 830 million litres a day.

A 3.5-km-long pipeline was laid connecting the Jolarpet railway station with a pumping house. A trial run of the supply line was carried out on Wednesday.

Around 100 pipes installed near the railway tracks would be used to supply 2.5 million litres of water from all the wagons to a treatment plant, said an official of Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board, news agency PTI reported.

After treatment it would be sent for distribution. This arrangement has been made for the next six months until the (advent of the) north-east monsoon,” PTI quoted the official as saying.

Blaming four parched drinking water reservoirs outside Chennai due to inadequate monsoon last year, Chennai Metro Water has cut piped water supply by 40 per cent. In many areas, residents don’t get piped water at all.

Chennai Metro Water has deployed 900 tankers for street supply. Many families say they get five pots of water daily from the tankers. Private water tankers have doubled the price since April. The Madras High Court has criticised the Tamil Nadu government for not doing enough.

Chennai is one of the 21 Indian cities that the government think tank NITI Aayog has said would run out of water by 2021.

Source: NDTV


Every household in India to get water supply by 2024 under ‘Jal Jeevan’ Mission

July 5, 2019

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced in her maiden budget speech that the newly set up Jal Shakti Ministry will work with states to ensure that every rural house gets water by 2024 under the Jal Jeevan Mission. Her pledge of “har ghar jal”  got massive applause at the Lok Sabha this morning. This promise came soon after her promise that every single rural family, except those unwilling to take connection, will get an electricity and LPG connection by 2022.

Of course, pre-Budget speculation was rife that Sitharaman would focus on ‘jal’  or water to bring smiles to rural India through the Modi 2.0 government’s flagship Nal se Jal scheme that aims to provide piped water supply for every household. The scheme comes under the ambit of the Jal Shakti Ministry, which has merged the ministries of water resources, river development and Ganga Rejuvenation with the Drinking Water and Sanitation portfolio. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat took charge of this new ministry on May 31.

The Jal Shakti Ministry has been set up at a time when a heat wave is currently sweeping north India and the delayed monsoon has delivered 38 per cent lower-than normal rainfall since the start of the season on June 1. The future looks far more dire. By 2020, India will be formally categorized as a “water stressed” country, one where per capita availability of water is less than 1,000 cubic metres or less. A June 2018 Niti Ayog report grimly forecasts water demand will be twice the present supply and India could lose up to 6 per cent of its GDP.

So the new ministry – which also take on issues ranging from the byzantine Namami Gange project and the controversial river linkage programme to the national mission on irrigation for providing water to every field – has its work cut out.

Source: Business Insider


Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0 to focus on rural solid waste management

July 5, 2019

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech on July 5 announced the government’s plans to scale up Swachh Bharat Mission to a new level through sustainable solid waste management in every village. The government intends to ensure 100 percent disposal of liquid waste, with an emphasis on faecal sludge management and reuse of wastewater.

Sitharaman also stated 9.6 crore toilets have been constructed, and more than 6.9 lakh villages open-defecation free since the launch of the scheme close to five years ago. She also announced that a Rashtriya Swachhta Kendra would be inaugurated at Raj Ghat on October 2, 2019.

To accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to put focus on sanitation, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Mission on October 02, 2014. With two Sub-Missions, the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) and the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), the initiative aims to achieve Swachh Bharat by 2019, as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary.

In rural India, this would mean improving the levels of cleanliness through solid and liquid waste management activities and making villages open defecation free (ODF), clean and sanitised.

Under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen), the government has declared that over 5,66,248 villages or 94.27 percent of all villages in India as open defecation-free. The National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey (NARSS) 2017-18, which was conducted by an independent verification agency supported by the World Bank, had confirmed that rural toilet usage in India had reached 93.4 percent. The NARSS team had visited over 90,000 households across more than 6,000 villages before releasing their findings.

The government’s plans include the use of latest technologies to transform waste to energy and wealth in a major mission.

Source: Money control


Proposal for interlinking of rivers is erroneous: Mihir Shah

July 4, 2019

Mihir Shah, erstwhile member of the Planning Commission and head of several committees on water reforms, says political compulsions may push the new government to do something substantial on water. Excerpts from an interview:

A committee helmed by you had made a slew of proposals to reform India’s water policy in 2016, including regulation on groundwater use. Is there any hope for their implementation?

After a recent interaction at the new Jal Shakti ministry, I feel renewed hope that the recommendations of my committee will indeed see the light of day. I think the crisis on the ground is providing a very useful wake-up call for the government. The creation of the Jal Shakti ministry is itself a positive first step forward in the direction of overcoming hydro-schizophrenia that has beset policymaking on water in India for so long.

Piped drinking water for all by 2024 is a flagship promise of the present government. What do you make of the scheme?

I think the scheme is a response to the need to the hour. But it can be a success only if certain preconditions are met. One, clear understanding of the aquifers to be used for water supply. Two, a user-friendly communication of this information to the primary stakeholders. Three, ensuring that drinking water and irrigation are planned for together—history teaches us that sources of drinking water have soon got exhausted whenever the same aquifer is used for irrigation. Four, the entire water supply system is operated and managed by local institutions specifically dedicated to this purpose. These should be led by local women, adequately empowered to do so. They should decide upon tariffs for this water in an open, transparent and collective manner. Only then can these systems become sustainable and overcome historically inherited gender, caste and class inequities.

Should India consider even a limited interlinking of rivers plan as part of this renewed push for water security?

Rivers are not human creations like roads and power lines to be twisted and turned at will. They are living eco-systems that have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years. The proposal for inter-linking of rivers (ILR) is based on a series of erroneous presumptions. In the sub-continent, given the dependence on the monsoon, the periods when rivers have “surplus” water are generally synchronous. And a recent study finds a significant decrease in monsoon rainfall over water “surplus” river basins in India, thus raising questions about the basic presumptions of the ILR project.

What is truly ironic is that, given the topography of India and the way the links are envisaged, they might totally bypass the core dryland areas of central and western India, which are located on elevations of 300 to 1000 metres above mean sea level.

We must also recognise that the ILR could profoundly impact the very integrity of India’s monsoon system. The continuous flow of fresh river water into the sea is what helps maintain a low salinity layer of water with low density in the upper layers of the Bay of Bengal. This is a reason for the maintenance of high sea-surface temperatures (greater than 28 degrees C), which create low-pressure areas and intensify monsoon activity. Rainfall over much of the sub-continent is controlled by this layer of low-salinity water. A disruption in this layer because of massive damming of rivers under the ILR and the resultant reduction in freshwater flows into the sea could have serious long-term consequences for climate and rainfall in the subcontinent, endangering the livelihoods of a vast population.

Source: Livemint


The new plan to solve India’s water crisis

July 4, 2019

As men streak past on bicycles and motorbikes en route to work every morning in the busy, narrow lanes of south Delhi’s Sangam Vihar, 45-year-old Poonam Kumar steps out, bucket in hand. Her day usually begins in a huddle of 20-odd people, all waiting for a Delhi Jal Board water tanker. “On most days, we get just two buckets of water (about 20-25 litres),” she says. In the blistering Delhi heat, that’s supposed to sustain a family of four. And this tanker comes only three times a week.

Delhi is ground zero for the country’s water policy architects. The brand new water ministry—Jal Shakti—is based in the city. The national capital also gets priority access to resources, with only 18% of the city’s households outside the piped water grid (among the best in the country)—still leaving out roughly 200 residential colonies, such as the one Kumar lives in. Despite the many advantages, the degree of water stress in Delhi is indicative of the magnitude of the challenge facing the country. Delhi goes into a tailspin each time canals carrying water from hundreds of kilometres away, in Haryana, go dry.

“Nothing much has changed,” says Avinash Mishra, adviser, water resources, at NITI Aayog, which put out a report in the summer of 2018 that contained a set of dire warnings about the future of the country’s water security. “In most parts of the country, it is business as usual.” With a stalled monsoon finally beginning to spread and even submerge parts of India, including Mumbai, K.J. Sohan, a former mayor of Kochi, says “rainwater harvesting is already being forgotten”.

However, there is one thing significantly different about the summer of 2019. The central government on Monday launched a water conservation drive that will last the entire period of monsoon, targeting over 250 of India’s most water-stressed districts (covering roughly a fourth of the country’s landmass). “The teams are going out now,” says Parameswaran Iyer, secretary, drinking water and sanitation. “They are going to make an assessment in consultation with local officials and set a baseline. The idea is to intensify and accelerate water conservation activity. We have a fluid list of about 1,200 officials. Pretty much one person from every ministry is going,” he adds.

The idea of rainwater harvesting has been discussed forever in Delhi’s policy corridors. It has been made mandatory for every building in the capital to install the rainwater harvesting system at least since 2001. Yet, a Mint Right to Information query last year revealed that a majority of government buildings in Delhi, including important ones like the Supreme Court and NITI Aayog, don’t have rainwater harvesting system. In his Mann Ki Baat radio address on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said only 8% of rainwater gets saved in the country.

The latest water conservation push may or may not result in lasting change. What is undeniable, however, is that India’s first major climate crisis is already at its doorstep. And it’s in the shape of water.

Dry promises

Perhaps the best indication of the dystopian reality that Chennai had entered this summer can be found in the hand pumps that have come up on the sands of Marina Beach, in the vicinity of the red-and-white lighthouse. Under pressure from residents of the nearby fishing village of Nochikuppam, the Chennai Metro Water Board dug the 15 feet deep borewells last month—without the approval of the state environment department. “The water tastes fine, so we drink it,” says B. Sunitha, who lives in Nochikuppam with her family of five.

The city also recently shut down air-conditioning on its swanky new metro rail trains to save water. Now, the plan is to bring in 10 million litres of water from Jolarpet, about 200km away. The first train load is supposed to come into the city on 7 July. The irony is that the villages which dot the source point of this water train, in many instances, get government water supply only once in 10 days. India’s water ecosystem is full of such ironies. Chennai gets most of its regular water supply from 30km away; Bengaluru relies on piped Cauvery water from 86km away; and Delhi gets its supply from 230km away. Parts of India remain in perpetual drought to keep the taps flowing in these major cities.

That is one of the reasons why the government’s marquee promise of providing piped water for every Indian by 2024 has caused a certain degree of alarm among water activists. Since water is not priced to contain demand, past experience shows that the reservoirs would only go dry quicker once piped water supply expands. “They will buy pipes and put them in every house, but what is the point of the pipe when there is no water,” asks Rajendra Singh, an environmentalist from Alwar who goes by the moniker “waterman of India”.

Restoring water bodies

That is why there is now a growing clamour about the second major common-sense reform—restoring waterbodies, which would stop the reliance on distant water sources. After having spent over 4 trillion on dams and other engineering-heavy solutions which haven’t shown results, Manoj Mishra, convener of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, says: “The need is to focus on replenishing our natural dams—the aquifers and catchment areas. Let the rivers run free.”

The failure to preserve natural aquifers and catchments is most evident in the rate of groundwater depletion, which is the only fallback. “There has been an alarming decrease in the groundwater levels in the northern region in the last two decades,” says V.M. Tiwari, director of the Hyderabad-based National Geophysical Research Institute.

By 2009, the region was losing groundwater at a rate of 54 billion cubic metre per year, which is roughly equivalent to all the water stored in the Alaskan glaciers, Tiwari says, adding that it is probably the largest rate of groundwater loss in any comparable-sized region on Earth. “This has only gotten worse since then.” Evidence shows that India’s economic development, in fact, only accelerates water stress—with the percentage of districts with overexploited groundwater levels increasing from three in 1995 to 15 by 2011, according to the Standing Committee on Water Resources.

Since much of that water is guzzled by India’s farms (nearly 90% of freshwater withdrawal each year is by the agriculture sector), there may also have to be a serious reckoning on what India eats and how it is grown. “Agriculture is going to be the key part of the package to set right the mess we are in,” says Amarjit Singh, a former special secretary at the erstwhile ministry of water resources. “If you look at Maharashtra, 60% of the water is used for growing sugar cane when we are getting sugar much cheaper in the international market than in the domestic market. Even in Latur, they grow sugar cane. In the case of rice at least (takes about 3,000 litres to produce a kilogramme of rice), we get about $25 billion as export earnings,” he says.

Ultimately, the problem is that we really do not know what is happening to water, Singh says. “There has to be a proper (annual) audit on water… where is it coming from and where is it going. We should be measuring how many litres we spend growing crops as often as we measure the yield per acre,” he says. “The cropping pattern should be according to the availability of water (in the area),” he adds.

With renewed national attention, many of these pre-existing proposals and solutions may finally gain the attention they deserve, say experts. The Delhi government, for example, rolled out plans this week to create water catchment ponds on the Yamuna floodplains. “A plan for the (city’s) lakes is ready and should be rolled out in the next 12-18 months,” said a Delhi Jal Board official, requesting anonymity.

In conclusion

The key is yearly action prior to the monsoon, rather than the odd major initiative. In Chennai, for example, despite the city’s widely commended push toward making rainwater harvesting mandatory in every building, the absence of its main proponent, erstwhile chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, has led to significant slip back. A recent audit found that 40% of buildings had systems that weren’t really collecting water and most government buildings did not have any such systems, says Sekhar Raghavan of Rain Centre, a non-governmental organisation.

But Avinash Mishra of NITI Aayog insists the difference this time would be a “mission-mode” mindset. “Water will be to this government what toilets were to the previous government,” he says.

Meanwhile, the exodus of Delhi bureaucrats into water-stressed India will begin in a few days. Manish Thakur, a joint secretary in the Union government, is preparing to make his first visit to a district in Rajasthan. “We are hoping for a long-term change,” he says. “The initial focus will be on installing rainwater harvesting systems in group housing societies and every government building. We are building a central dashboard to track progress.”

It won’t be about theory but actionable points, he promises. “It’s not gas. The plan is to restore at least one defunct waterbody in every city and town,” Thakur says. By the end of September, as the southwest monsoon winds down, the tall promise of delivering piped water to every Indian would have met its first real test.

Source: Livemint


Centre working with states to improve water situation: Minister

July 1, 2019

The government aims to reduce the time frame fixed by United Nation for providing tap water to all households in the country from 2030 to 2024, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat informed Rajya Sabha on Monday.

The minister said emphasis is being laid on improving water level in water-stressed districts of the country and steps are being taken to recharge water by treating waste water.

“The government aims to provide tap water to all households by 2024, reducing the time frame from 2030 as per the United Nations Resolution in this regard,” the minister said.

“Till the time the ‘Jal ka Andolan’ turns into a ‘Jan Andolan’ the things would not improve,” he told the house.

He said according to the NITI Aayog’s ‘Strategy for New India @75’, the per-capita water availability has decreased from 1,816 cubic metre in 2001 to 1,544 cubic metre in 2011.

“While water is a state subject, the central government is working with the states to improve the water situation.

“In rural areas, under centrally sponsored National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP), the central government provides technical and financial assistance to state for improving the coverage of safe drinking water in rural habitations,” the minister said in the written reply.

Shekhawat said as reported by states on Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) of Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, out of total 17,25,808 rural habitations, infrastructure for providing safe drinking water as per the existing norms has been created in 13,98,292 rural habitations (81.02 per cent).

“Out of total rural population of 9182.58 lakh, 7001.42 lakh (76.25 per cent) have the infrastructure to provide more than 40 litres per capita per day of safe drinking water,” he said.

He said under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP), states are empowered to utilise up to 25 per cent of NRDWP funds to mitigate the drinking water crisis in areas in their states by taking water scarcity mitigation measures.

He said in order to sustain drinking water sources, artificial recharge of groundwater and rain water harvesting are being implemented under various schemes like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

He said the Ministry of Jal Shakti has been created in Government of India, integrating the erstwhile Ministry of Water Resources River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

The aim is to integrate water resources management so that the issues relating to water requirement for various sectors viz irrigation, drinking water, sanitation and rejuvenation of the river Ganga etc. are dealt with in a holistic manner under one umbrella.

He said a meeting of state ministers of water resources and water supply was held on June 11 chaired by the Minister of Jal Shakti for a comprehensive review of activities taken up by the states for addressing the concerns arising out of the current situation

The minister said the Prime Minister has personally addressed letters to all Sarpanches (village heads) in the country motivating them to take up water conservation activities like de-silting and cleaning of water bodies, rain water harvesting etc. with people’s participation.

Source: Press Trust of India


Reservoirs are starting to die out, where are heading?

June 28, 2019

The live storage available in India’s 91 reservoirs for the week ended June 27, 2019, was 26.272 BCM (billion cubic metres), which is 16 per cent of total live storage capacity, the Central Water Commission (CWC) reported on June 27.

As compared to last week’s figure of 27.265 BCM, this week’s storage dropped by 3.66 per cent.

Last year, the live storage available in these reservoirs for the corresponding period was 29.612 BCM and the average of the last 10 years’ live storage was 30.708 BCM.

Thus, the live storage available in 91 reservoirs as on June 27 was 89 per cent of the live storage of the corresponding period of last year and 86 per cent of the storage of the average of the last 10 years.

Out of 91 reservoirs, 29 reported more than 80 per cent of normal storage, while 62 reported 80 per cent or below of normal storage. ‘Normal storage’ means average storage of the last 10 years.

All southern states as well as the western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat remain to the most severely affected by the water crisis. 57 reservoirs in these areas (27 in western India and 30 in southern) hold less than 40 per cent water.

The water shortage of Andhra Pradesh has risen to worrisome levels at 84 per cent, and similarly in Maharashtra, water deficiency is reported at 77 per cent.

Rivers

The major rivers in the southern and western zones like the Sabarmati, the rivers of Kutch, Godavari, Cauvery and the west-flowing rivers of southern India are flowing dry, with minimal to no water storage in them, the CWC said.

The Tapi and Krishna are witnessing massive deficits of about 82 and 62 per cent respectively.

Rivers in the eastern states of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Tripura do not paint a very positive picture either. The total live storage available in the reservoirs in these states is 2.83 BCM, which is 15 per cent of their total live storage capacity.

On the other hand, the basins of the Indus, Narmada, Mahanadi and neighbouring eastern flowing rivers have witnessed a better than or close to normal storage position.

While the situation in the majority of large reservoirs is very grave, 19 reservoirs have increased storage as compared to last year. Twenty-one others hold storage more than the average of the last ten years.

India has so far received only 92.4 mm rainfall against a normal of 144.3 mm — an overall deficit of 35 per cent.

Source: Down To Earth


Plugging the gaps in Swachh cities through effective landfill management

June 27, 2019

The Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban (SBM-U), launched on 2nd October 2014 aims at making urban India free from open defecation and achieving 100% scientific management of municipal solid waste in 4,041 statutory towns in the country.

The objectives of the mission are mentioned below: 

  • Elimination of open defecation
  • Eradication of Manual Scavenging
  • Modern and Scientific Municipal Solid Waste Management
  • To effect behavioral change regarding healthy sanitation practices
  • Generate awareness about sanitation and its linkage with public health
  • Capacity Augmentation for ULB’s
  • To create an enabling environment for private sector participation in Capex (capital expenditure) and Opex (operation and maintenance)

The Mission has the following components:

  • Household toilets, including conversion of insanitary latrines into pour-flush latrines;
  • Community toilets
  • Public toilets
  • Solid waste management
  • IEC & Public Awareness
  • Capacity building and Administrative & Office Expenses (A&OE)

The targets set for the Mission, which have to be achieved by 2nd October 2019 include:

  • Construction of 66.42 Lakh individual household toilets (IHHL);
  • Construction of 2.52 lakh community toilet (CT) seats;
  • Construction of 2.56 lakh public toilet (PT) seats; and
  • Achieving 100% door-to-door collection and scientific management of municipal solid waste (MSW).

To ensure a continuous engagement and higher awareness among the citizens, a participatory approach for implementation of the Swachh Bharat Mission is being planned in form of theme-based Cleanliness drives on regular intervals, which are specific to a sector. Theme-based interventions are conducted, targeting core city spaces and areas. Depending upon the specific theme, relevant government departments and entities are engaged to facilitate the implementation of the drives and participation by relevant stakeholders.

Watch more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubPeQItQz-0&authuser=0

Source: Swach Bharat Mission Urban, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs


Reuse Brew: a new innovation in recycled water

June 26, 2019

Over 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress and about 4 billion people experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year. As this situation intensifies, global water technology company Xylem, is working to advance the conversation on sustainable water supply strategies. As part of this effort, Xylem has partnered with Berlin water utility Berliner Wasserbetriebe and the Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin (the Berlin Centre of Competence for Water) to produce “Reuse Brew” – a beer made from purified and treated wastewater. The beer was showcased at the International Water Association (IWA) International Conference on Water Reclamation and Reuse in Berlin, alongside a range of Xylem’s water reuse solutions.

Jens Scheideler, Global Reuse Product Manager at Xylem said, “Through creative partnerships, we are focused on shining a light on global water challenges and the opportunity to address issues like water scarcity with recycled water. The reality is that water scarcity is an issue facing communities in every corner of the world but solutions exist to tackle this challenge.

“Accelerating adoption of reuse technologies requires a combination of smart water policies and education. A survey of California residents commissioned by Xylem found that 87 percent of survey respondents are willing to use recycled water in their daily lives and the majority support public policies to promote the use of recycled water. We must spread the word that it is water quality that counts, not its history,” added Jens Scheideler.

“With the Berlin Reuse Brew, we want to demonstrate that the technical possibilities of turning wastewater into drinking water are almost limitless,” said Ulf Miehe, Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin.

“With additional treatment steps, we are taking wastewater treatment in Berlin to the next level using new, innovative technologies,” added Regina Gnirss, head of research at Berliner Wasserbetriebe, “We will also continue to produce our drinking water sustainably from groundwater, because nature by itself also has immense purifying power. Here in Berlin, we know that water reuse can support the regional water balance, especially during dry periods.”

About the water purification process: In Germany’s sewage treatment plants, there are three, sometimes up to four treatment steps of wastewater. The so-called fourth purification stage is used for the removal of micro pollutants such as medical residues, biocides or other chemicals. The combination of ozone and activated carbon is an established process that Xylem offers in an integrated solution, called the Oxelia process. Ozone oxidizes harmful micro pollutants and kills germs and bacteria. After this, biologically activated carbon filters are used to eliminate substances that are oxidized by the ozone and removed by microorganisms. The water is then of adequate quality to be released back into rivers and lakes.

To achieve drinking water quality, additional treatment is required. After the Oxelia process, the water is passed through a further activated carbon filter, which absorbs substances not removed by ozone or microorganisms. Reverse osmosis (RO) further enhances water quality.

In order to guarantee the highest possible quality and consumer safety, the water undergoes a final treatment stage: the Xylem MiPRO process with ultraviolet (UV) light and hydrogen peroxide. This “Advanced Oxidation Process” (AOP) brings the water to the highest possible purity level.

Source: Water World


Chennai is living in a man-made water crisis

June 26, 2019
Residents don’t have enough water to drink, bathe or wash clothes. People are working from home; malls have closed their bathrooms; and restaurants have shut their doors.

The natural instinct is to blame the situation on climate change and, indeed, the last monsoon’s rains were especially weak. While that’s certainly played a role, however, Chennai’s is largely a man-made disaster – one that more Indian metropolises are soon to suffer no matter the weather.

According to a study by the federal government think tank NITI Aayog, 21 Indian cities will run out of groundwater by next year, including the capital New Delhi and the information technology hub of Bengaluru. Two hundred thousand Indians already die every year because they don’t have a safe water supply, the report said. A shocking 600 million people face “high to extreme” water stress.

That Chennai should have run dry first is instructive. Less than four years ago, the now drought-ridden city was inundated  by devastating floods. Though located on a flood plain, the city had paved over the lakes and wetlands that might have helped the process of recharging the water table. As a result, heavy rains couldn’t percolate into aquifers under the city. Water pooled and surged aboveground. That reduced the resources available to deal with a crisis like this year’s.
Elsewhere, demand is the issue. In theory, India receives enough rain every year to meet the needs of over a billion people. According to the country’s Central Water Commission, it requires at most 3,000 billion cubic meters of water annually and receives 4,000 billion cubic meters of rain.

But too much water is wasted thanks to inefficiency and misuse. The situation is particularly dire in India’s northwest, irrigated by the great rivers that rise in the Himalayas. Indians are taught to revere the “green revolution” of the 1970s, when the northwest became India’s granary thanks to canals and tube wells that pumped out groundwater. That revolution, however, has turned out to be unsustainable. In 2011, 245 billion cubic meters of water were withdrawn for irrigation — a quarter of the total groundwater depletion globally that year.

North-Western states should be growing less water-intensive crops; areas in the east of the country that receive much more plentiful rainfall should take their place as the bread baskets of India. But shifting cultivation patterns around is politically problematic. Farmers in the northwest don’t just expect to continue to grow water-intensive crops, they also want free or subsidized power with which to run the tube wells that pump out their rapidly depleting groundwater.

Climate change activists have long argued that water will be the political flashpoint of the 21st century. Water-stressed India will likely be one of the first places to test that theory. The state of Tamil Nadu complains that it doesn’t receive its fair share of the waters of the Cauvery River; recently, the authority that nominally manages the river accused the government of neighbouring Karnataka of holding onto water that it should have allowed to flow down to the Cauvery delta.
Things might get even testier up north, where more than a billion people depend upon rivers that rise in the Himalayas. Bangladesh and Pakistan feel that India is being stingy with river water. Indian strategists constantly worry that China will divert water from the Himalayan rivers that rise in Tibet to feed the thirst cities in its own north.

The floods in Chennai are a warning. As the world warms, the rains on which India depends have become erratic: They frequently fail to arrive on time, and they fall in a more disparate and unpredictable pattern. The country can no longer afford to waste its dwindling resources.

A rapidly urbanizing and developing India needs to drought-proof its cities and rationalise its farming. Water-harvesting must be a priority, alongside mechanisms for groundwater replenishment. As it is, every summer is hotter and less bearable. If Indians run short of water as well, one of the world’s most populous nations could well become uninhabitable.

Source: Economic Times

Relying on neighbourhood aquifers is costing Chennai:

June 17, 2019

Even as Chennai is again in the spotlight for its severe water crisis, an analysis of its civic history reveals that the city has often preyed upon its neighbourhood for meeting its never-ending demand for water.

Groundwater is the lifeline of the city and its neighbouring areas. The official water is sourced from water wells.

Chennai has over 0.42 million wells according to Excreta Matters, 2012, a research by Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment. Of these, only 27,000 are open wells, which extract 150 million litres per day (MLD) of groundwater — with the average rate of extraction at about 400 litres per well per day says the study.

Over and above this, around 66 per cent of households in the city have their own private wells. This has led to a general fall in water levels as well as a decline in average yields per well.

Between 1991 and 2002, groundwater levels fell at a rate of a little less than one metre a year; between 1999 and 2004, the level fell at a faster rate of close to two metres a year. The study also adds that there has been an increase in the number of borewells and many open wells have dried up.

The city has tried to bring forth several legislations to save its groundwater. The first of these was the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Act, 1978.

According to a 2018 research paper published in the journal World Development, Chennai Metro Water Board strategised the purchasing of riparian water permits.

The Board bought the riparian rights in neighbouring Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts as early as the 1960s.

However, given the shared nature of groundwater aquifers and the continued dependence of many small and marginal farmers, who drew water from these aquifers for agriculture, the strategy had led to significant tensions between rural communities and Chennai, and among rural communities themselves.

“On one hand, enterprising farmers have converted their riparian rights into a profitable water trade, but on the other, many others have been negatively affected, producing conflict both within rural communities and between rural communities and Chennai,” the research explains.

According to surveys conducted in the Magaral and Palayaseevaram villages, agricultural production had been negatively affected by excessive groundwater extraction on the part of the Chennai Metro Water Board, adds the study.

SE’s 2012 research talks about the village of Velliyur, 50 kilometres from Chennai, in the basin of the Araniyar-Kortallaiyar rivers, where groundwater extraction was started as early as 1969 by the Board. About 11 borewells were installed to pump water from the village common lands to supply 16 MLD to nearby industries and Chennai city.

By 2000, nine borewells had failed. Chennai Metro Water Board then signed up 75 farmers to source 40 MLD. But by 2004, the water supply from the wells had declined to 17 MLD and more wells were going dry.

Violence

As water stress grew, tension over withdrawal also rose. People wanted the local panchayat to issue orders banning the export of water from the village.

The council declined. When aggrieved farmers went to court and got a stay on the sale of water, Metro Water intervened and supported those farmers who were selling water.

Agricultural output declined and the people had no option but move to sand mining in the riverbed. But this had an adverse impact on water recharge and soon, the water-selling farmers protested.

Metro Water used its influence to ban sand mining. By August 2004, tensions had reached a flashpoint and violence broke out as people stormed the local Metro Water office. To buy peace, it was agreed that water sale would be stopped within a month.

But this promise was not kept, as the powerful lobby of water-sellers and city officials obtained a stay from the court on the settlement. The conflict grew. By mid-September 2004, the entire village came together to block the roads and in the ensuing agitation, public pipelines were damaged.

People were arrested. A case was filed. The court asked the villagers to compensate Metro Water. This left the people protesting against the water withdrawal dispirited and dejected. Water sales started again. Metro Water even put up a notice soliciting water from farmers.

This year, according to news reports, the aquifer along Tiruvallur has dried up and the Board has moved towards the Thamaraipakkam area in Tiruvallur district which is considered rich in groundwater.

The urban water needs have won over the rural rights. It is now time to look into the implementation of the Acts once again, say the experts.

Source: Down To Earth


With Reservoirs Bone-Dry, How Is Chennai Dealing with Water Crisis?

June 14, 2019

With Chennai metro water supply cut by 40%, water is available in most areas for hardly an hour leaving everyone at the mercy of water tankers. Almost all reservoirs are bone-dry with pipes empty.

Watch more: https://youtu.be/hcmLbNSsQ2o

Source: The Quint, YouTube

 


Cleaning up Ganga: The heroic task yet to be accomplished:

June 7, 2019

The deadline for cleaning up the national river Ganga has been revised again. With the third extension, the deadline has now been extended to 2021.

In not a very subtle announcement of the same, new minister of the Jal Shakti Ministry, Gajendra Shekwat, said that the Ganga would be cleaned in two years.

Incidentally, when the Namami Gange mission was first announced in the 2014 budget speech by the Narendra Modi government, it was claimed that the Ganga would be made clean by 2019.

However, the then minister of Water Resources, Nitin Gadkari, clarified that while 80 per cent of the river would be cleaned by 2019, the entire process would be completed by 2020.

Whether even the 80 per cent target was achieved or not is a matter of debate. With the latest revision, Shekhawat still has a number of challenges ahead if the target is to be achieved within next two years.

Till April 2019, projects worth Rs 28,451.29 crore had been sanctioned under Namami Gange. Work on these projects has not even been completed for one-fourth of the sanctioned costs. The total expenditure done (on these projects) till April 30, 2019 stood at Rs 6,838.67 crore. In terms of numbers, only 98 projects had been completed as against sanctioned number of 298 till April 30, 2019.

The biggest investment was made on creating seweage infrastructure. Out of Rs 23,540.95 crore-sanctioned projects, only projects worth Rs 4,521 have been completed.

Has the health of the river improved?

According to the latest information available with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Ganga water is not fit for drinking in the entire stretch of Uttar Pradesh (except for Bijnor), Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Out of 70-odd monitoring points, the water is fit for drinking at only three points in Uttarakhand and Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh.

As far as bathing standards are concerned, the water was fit only at places in Uttarakhand, two places upstream in Uttar Pradesh and two in Jharkhand. Otherwise the entire stretch is unfit for bathing.

As against the upper limit of faecal coliform number of 2,500 per 100 millilitre (ml), it was 11,000 per 100 ml in Allahabad, 32,000 per 100 ml in Kanpur and 22,000 per 100 ml in Varanasi in April, according to the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board. UP is one among the five Ganga belt states where the government has put maximum thrust under the Namami Gange mission.

In West Bengal’s Uluberia, the faecal coliform number was 50,000 per 100 ml. The main source of faecal coliform is human excreta.

A 2018 CPCB report, however, said that the river water quality did not improve between 2014 and 2018. “In the Uttar Pradesh stretch, biological water quality is consistently moderately polluted during the period 2014-18… In Bihar, the river at Patna city was heavily polluted during 2015-16, while all other points were moderately polluted,” it said.

While experts were skeptical that the river would be cleaned by the original deadline of 2019, now it seems that even the revised deadline would be difficult to meet.

Source: Down To Earth


A survey on water by United Nations

June 7, 2019

In order to better serve its constituents, UN-Water has designed a survey to learn more about people’s knowledge of water and sanitation and what they think about its communication. The ‘quizurvey’ – a hybrid between a quiz and a survey – takes around 10 minutes to complete and is available in the six official UN languages.

Please clink on the link below to take the survey!

(https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScB-xSeh4j4_tY4XAFIyPahKEPdB6KbHuOJxH-mSZ-_B6GE1w/viewform)

Source: United Nations Water


Govt. forms ‘Jal Shakti’ Ministry by merging Water Resources and Drinking Water Ministries

May 31, 2019

Shekhawat took charge of the ministry on Friday, a day after he was sworn in as minister. During the election campaign, Modi had promised to form an integrated ministry dealing with water issues.

“All the water related works will be merged under one ministry,” Shekhawat said after taking the charge.

The ambit of the Ministry will encompass issues ranging from international and inter-states water disputes, the Namami Gange project, the flagship initiative to clean the Ganges, its tributaries and sub-tributaries and provide clean drinking water.

In the first Modi government, the project to clean the Ganga was moved from the Ministry of Environment and Forests to the Ministry of Water Resources. With a greater push and much larger monetary allocation, the Namami Gange project was launched.

The Minister said as promised in the party manifesto, the priority will be to provide clean drinking water to everyone.

Rebutting the charge that nothing was done under the Namami Gange project, Shekhawat said the Ganga river has been cleaned to a large extent and now the priority will be to clean its tributaries and sub-tributaries.

Rattan Lal Kataria will be the Minister of State in the newly formed ministry.

Source: Business Line


Mr. Bachchan doing it the right way. Are you?

February 15, 2019

No matter who the person, be it a celebrity or a person from the slums, we should realise the integrity of our lives and how climate change is affecting our planet. Doing the simplest thing can make a great difference in the long run and it should start from the periphery of our homes.

Source: YouTube


Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

October 25, 2018

Too many people still lack access to safely managed water supplies and sanitation facilities. Water scarcity, flooding and lack of proper wastewater management also hinder social and economic development. Increasing water efficiency and improving water management are critical to balancing the competing and growing water demands from various sectors and users.

  • In 2015, 29 per cent of the global population lacked safely managed drinking water supplies, and 61 per cent were without safely managed sanitation services. In 2015, 892 million people continued to practise open defecation.
  • In 2015, only 27 per cent of the population in LDCs had basic hand washing facilities.
  • Preliminary estimates from household data of 79 mostly high- and high-middle-income countries (excluding much of Africa and Asia) suggest that 59 per cent of all domestic wastewater is safely treated.
  • In 22 countries, mostly in the Northern Africa and Western Asia region and in the Central and Southern Asia region, the water stress level is above 70 per cent, indicating the strong probability of future water scarcity.
  • In 2017–2018, 157 countries reported average implementation of integrated water resources management of 48 per cent.

Based on data from 62 out of 153 countries sharing trans boundary waters, the average percentage of national trans boundary basins covered by an operational arrangement was only 59 per cent in 2017.

Watch more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAuoxTHq_zw&authuser=0

Source: United Nations, YouTube