National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is tasked with developing a circular economy model focused on reclaiming, reusing and recycling water. Vishwa Mohan spoke to NMCG DG GAsok Kumar. Edited excerpts:Your take on water availability and management?
Rapid urbanisation and industrialisation have created a demand-supply gap for water. India is already a ‘waterstressed’ nation and its water demand could exceed availability by over 50% in 2050. So, there is a growing recognition of the need to move towards a circular water economy model. But sustainability, resilience and risk mitigation strategies need to be embedded in this approach. What are the Clean Ganga Mission’s achievements with the circular economy model?
NMCG’s innovations like HAM-PPP (Hybrid Annuity based PPP) model and ‘One City One Operator’ model have been highly successful and are being adopted in other parts of the country. NITI Aayog is preparing standard guidelines for PPP projects in the water sector based on our HAM model. NMCG is also supporting wastewater reuse initiatives in states adjoining the Ganga. Is the river rejuvenation approach helping achieve circularity?
Monetising the reuse and recycling of treated sludge and wastewater is one of the six pillars of ‘Arth Ganga’, our self-sustaining economic model. Urban local bodies (ULBs) are encouraged to adopt models for revenue generation as well as conversion of sludge into useful products such as manure, pavers, bricks, etc. The model strives to contribute at least 3% of GDP from the river basin itself. Please share examples of ongoing water circularity projects.
The tertiary treatment plant at Indian Oil Corporation’s refi nery in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, was set up to supply treated wastewater to the refi nery for non-potable purposes. NMCG is in advanced stages of discussions to tie up with 11 thermal power generation units for taking treated water from their STPs for different uses. We are also planning to make the best use of sludge from STPs. For example, we can make biogas from sludge. In Dinapur, Varanasi, a 140 MLD (million litres per day) plant produces enough electricity for its needs. What role can the private sector play in this?
We have to reduce the use of potable water for nonpotable purposes, so treating wastewater can be a lucrative business for private players and urban local bodies. Earnings from treated water used for industrial purposes can also help in subsidising safe water for poor people.