National aquifer mapping programme to be completed in a year: Jal Shakti Ministry official

G. Asok Kumar, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, who spoke at a conference in Chennai on Monday, said the aquifer programme would help develop plans for groundwater management; other experts at the event noted that Chennai is fast-emerging as a manufactured water capital in the country

January 16, 2023 04:03 pm | Updated 05:05 pm IST - CHENNAI

G. Asok Kumar Chennai, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, Union Ministry of Jal Shakti, at the conference on ‘Water Reclamation and Reuse’, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the International Water Association, in Chennai on January 16, 2023

G. Asok Kumar Chennai, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, Union Ministry of Jal Shakti, at the conference on ‘Water Reclamation and Reuse’, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the International Water Association, in Chennai on January 16, 2023 | Photo Credit: KARUNAKARAN M

The National Aquifer Mapping and Management programme, which is aimed at delineating aquifer and water availability, is set to be completed in one year, G. Asok Kumar, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, Union Ministry of Jal Shakti, said in Chennai on Monday.

Mr. Kumar inaugurated a three-day conference on ‘Water Reclamation and Reuse’ organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the International Water Association (IWA) in the city on Monday.

Elaborating on the Central government’s initiatives to resolve issues of water management and water governance, Mr. Kumar said the aquifer mapping would help in developing plans for groundwater management. Noting that the policy on reusing of treated wastewater has found resonance in many States, Mr. Kumar said the Central government’s emphasis was on wastewater as a resource rather than as waste, and would work towards banning freshwater use for non-potable purposes.

Pointing to the national framework for safe reuse of treated water, he said the prime focus now is on reuse and recycling of wastewater and monetisation of sludge and treated sewage. He also spoke about the Jal Jeevan Mission to provide tap connections to all households by 2025 and the Namami Gange programme that aims at a cleaner Ganga and enhanced sewage treatment capacities.

Experts also spoke about how Chennai was fast-emerging as a manufactured water capital in the country, with its recent wastewater reuse initiatives.

Rajiv Mittal, CMD and Group CEO, VA Tech Wabag Ltd., a company that has executed desalination and tertiary treatment projects for Chennai, said besides adding desalination plants with treatment capacities of 550 million litres a day, projects are being planned for the optimum supply of recycled water and use of tertiary treated water for indirect potable use through the recharge of lakes.

Wastewater must be treated as an asset and incentives like carbon credits must be provided for reuse and recycling of wastewater. Reclaimed water would ensure drought-proof water availability, food security and sustainable socio-economic development, Mr. Mittal added.

Earlier, Naina Lal Kidwai, chairman, FICCI Water Mission, spoke about the significance of investing in water recycling, sharing industrial best practices and creating a market for treated waste water to build a water-resilient future.

Josef Lahnsteiner, chair, IWA Reuse Specialist Group; Thomas Michael Mollenkopf, IWA president and G.S.K. Velu, chairman, FICCI Tamil Nadu State Council also spoke.

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