S. Senthil Kumar, Professor, National College’s Department of Biotechnology, received the Best Paper Award for presenting his research findings on textile dye effluent treatment by a novel two-stage process in Geneva, Switzerland, at a programme organised by Global Institute for Water Environment and Health (GIWEH) last month.

Water conservation

Prof. Senthil Kumar’s recommendation for water use, re-use and conservation has been forwarded to the World Water Forum to be hosted by the United Nations in 2015. As a recipient of Young Scientist Award from the Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi, Prof. Senthil Kumar carried out the project with Rs. 25 lakh funding from the Science and Engineering Research Board.

The two-stage process involving use of adapted strains of bacteria followed by Advanced Oxidation Process resulted in maximal decolourisation and increased re-usability of water for irrigation.

“Despite the recent rapid growth in industrial production, agriculture is still an integral part of India’s economy and society. There is a constant competition over water between farmers and industrialists seeking to commodify the resource base for commercial gain. Industrial water use in India stands at about nearly 6 per cent of total freshwater used and the demand is expected to increase exponentially. The agriculture sector taps 90 per cent of total water resources causing depletion of groundwater. Analysts warn that the water demand in India will overshoot the current supply in the near future. More than one million hectare of urban land in India could be irrigated for crops if waste water was made safe for re-use. In Tamil Nadu, huge amount of textile waste water could be treated and re-used to reduce demand-supply gap, thereby encouraging water efficiency and sustainable development.”

Scientists from 22 countries made presentations on water-related disasters, advocated hydrological change for addressing water scarcity and quality, and called for attention on eco-hydrological system as solution. They recommended ecological engineering, and development of a global network of water and development information in arid lands in the coming years.

The GIWEH organised the programme in association with UNESCO-IHE, Netherlands; United Nations Environment Programme; World Intellectual Property Organisation; United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, and the University of Geneva.