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Biodiversity & Environment

Capacity of India’s Sewage Treatment Plants

  • 24 Sep 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Key Points

  • Highlights of the Report:
    • Installed Capacity of STPs:
      • India generated 72,368 MLD (million litres per day) whereas the installed capacity of STPs was 31,841 MLD (43.9%).
      • 5 states and Union Territories (UT) - Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Karnataka - account for 60% of the total installed treatment capacity of the country.
      • Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland have not installed sewage treatment plants.
      • Chandigarh ranks first in terms of total sewage generated to what is actually treated.
    • Reuse of Treated Sewage:
      • It is maximum in Haryana followed by Puducherry, Delhi, Chandigarh.
        • It has not assumed much importance in the policy planning of many state governments.
      • Treated sewage water can be reused for horticulture, irrigation, washing activities (road, vehicles and trains), fire-fighting, industrial cooling, toilet flushing and gardening.
      • This can decrease the water demand from aquatic sources like rivers, ponds, lakes and as well as groundwater sources.
  • Concerns:
    • Increased Sewage Generation:
      • CPCB has estimated that sewage generation will increase to over 1,20,000 MLD by 2051.
    • Gaps in Treatment Capacity:
      • The gaps in treatment capacity are amplified at local levels, as STPs are concentrated in larger cities and Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) are unevenly distributed across states.
    • Economic Case:
      • Modern Wastewater Treatment Plants (WTPs) are capital-intensive and require the use of innovative technology, such as sensors, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based trackers.
      • The high upfront capital requirements in machinery and equipment, combined with unpredictable revenue streams, make this a high-risk sector, deterring private sector investment.
  • Related Government Initiatives:
    • Recognising this challenge, the Indian government shifted its focus to solid waste, sludge and greywater management under the Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0 (SBM 2.0) which was announced recently.
    • Following a sustained focus on achieving Open Defecation-Free (ODF) status, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) developed detailed criteria for cities to achieve ODF+, ODF++ and Water+ statuses in May 2020.

Way Forward

  • The water and wastewater treatment market in India is a US$4-billion industry, growing at 10-12 % annually (pre-covid-19).
  • In a post-pandemic economy, central and state governments must work in partnership to create markets for treated water.
  • Attaining high rates of economic growth for India will directly be a function of the sustainable use of water, particularly in recycling & reuse as it will be crucial for future urban planning and policy.
  • Wastewater can be a cost-efficient and sustainable source of energy, nutrients and other useful by-products like organic and organic-mineral fertiliser.
    • The benefits of extracting such resources from wastewater go beyond human and environmental health. They have implications on food and energy security as well as climate change mitigation.

Source: DTE

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