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‘Urban India has to become water-prudent’

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Conserving water: Governor Rameshwar Thakur (left), Rajya Sabha member K. Kasturirangan (centre) and Director of Centre for Science and Environment Sunitha Narain at World Water Day-2008 celebrations, in Bangalore on Wednesday.
Conserving water: Governor Rameshwar Thakur (left), Rajya Sabha member K. Kasturirangan (centre) and Director of Centre for Science and Environment Sunitha Narain at World Water Day-2008 celebrations, in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Staff Reporter

BWSSB commended for its ‘fairly successful’ performance in water delivery

Only 13.5 per cent of the sewage in India is treated

Call to reinvent the flush toilet

BANGALORE: “Only 13.5 per cent of the sewage in India is treated and urban India has to become water-prudent. It cannot afford to waste any of its water and must recycle sewage,” said Sunita Narain, Director of the Centre for Science and Environment, on Wednesday adding that it is especially important in the age of competing demands for water.

Speaking at the World Water Day-2008 celebrations, organised by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), Ms. Narain said that of the 33,200 million litres of sewage produced in the country every day, only 4,400 million litres was treated. She urged the scientific community to put in efforts at “reinventing the flush toilet,” which consumes disproportionate amount of water.

Calling for a “rework in our paradigm of water and waste,” Ms. Narain said that water practices in the country were a replication of the “capital and resource intensive” models practised around the world, which are inefficient and increase the cost of delivery of water. “Operating technology for delivering water is expensive with losses built into the system,” she said. Longer the distance to transport water, higher the loss due to transportation, Ms. Narain said. She called for a water management strategy that combines borrowing from the past by increasing water supply from local water sources and efficient water technologies that are forward-looking.

K. Kasturirangan, MP and Director of the National Institute of Advanced Studies, commended the BWSSB for its “fairly successful” performance in water delivery, but added that more efforts must be made towards a better sewerage network. “Only 17 per cent of slum dwellers have adequate sanitation facilities. Considering that 34 per cent of the population in the city lives in slums, one has to look at it more seriously,” he said.

Inaugurating the event, Governor Rameshwar Thakur said that BWSSB was the first agency in the country to have completed a project under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The board recently completed its project on drawing an additional 100 million litres of water from Cauvery for the city.

He also called upon BWSSB to “implement as per schedule” the project on waste water reuse for potable purposes adding that the board was the only organisation to have succeeded in obtaining approval for such a project from the Centre under JNNURM.

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