National Aquifer Mapping and Management Programme

The National Aquifer Mapping and Management programme, which aims to identify aquifers and water availability, is set to be completed in one year, according to G. Asok Kumar, Director General of the National Mission for Clean Ganga, Union Ministry of Jal Shakti. The announcement was made during a conference on ‘Water Reclamation and Reuse’ organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the International Water Association (IWA) in Chennai.

Aquifer Mapping

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. The mapping will provide a detailed understanding of the location and extent of aquifers, the amount of water available, and the quality of the water. This information will be used to develop plans for the sustainable management of groundwater resources.

Reuse and Recycling of Wastewater

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. He spoke about the national framework for safe reuse of treated water, and the prime focus now is on reuse and recycling of wastewater and monetisation of sludge and treated sewage.

Jal Jeevan Mission and Namami Gange

Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to provide tap connections to all households by 2025, and the Namami Gange programme, which aims at a cleaner Ganga and enhanced sewage treatment capacities. The Jal Jeevan Mission will provide safe and adequate drinking water to households in rural areas, while the Namami Gange programme will work towards cleaning up the Ganges river and improving sewage treatment facilities.

Chennai as a Manufactured Water Capital

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 of 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.

Investing in Water Recycling

Naina Lal Kidwai, chairman of 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. 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.



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