Water is always an imperative source for the survival of human kind on the earth. Availability and management of water resources in order to meet daily needs and demands of each and every section of the society, is one of the challenges faced by various state authorities (considering water is state subject). On the other hand, increasing pollution of fresh water resources pose a huge challenge cum threat, and the situation is worsening with rising demand due to increase in urbanization. All these have resulted into creating water stress and chaos in some of the nations across the globe.
Normally as per thumb rule, water supply in urban area is 135 litres per capita per day (lpcd), of this 80% water comes out as waste water (i.e. 108 lpcd). This is a quite huge quantity, and if treated, reused and recycled, it can save our precious waste resources. Treated waste water can be used for various non potable purposes like washing vehicles, flushing washrooms, concrete mixing, in golf courses and public parks for irrigation, in power plants for cooling, and for hydraulic fracturing in urban area. It can also be used for agriculture purpose (with provided quality check on certain parameters).
In between pandemic situation like COVID 19, demand for water increased drastically to maintain safe sanitation practices. As per WHO guidelines, we have to wash our hands at every 20 seconds, which results into increased water usage (Around 20 to 40 litres of water per day, assuming every person cleans his/her hands at least 10 times a day). A family of five members would thus need 100 to 200 litres of water per day only to wash hands. This would result in the generation of around 200 litres of wastewater per day, a 20 to 25 per cent increase in water demand and generation of wastewater from human settlements. This can be turned into an opportunity, by proper treatment and reuse of generated waste water.
Most of us are aware about Centralized Waste Water Treatment (called as off site treatment), wherein waste water generated from different sources gets collected at city level centralized sewage treatment plant. This kind of system has more disadvantages than advantages. Centralized systems prove to be ineffective in treating waste water, not functioning at maximum capacity etc. Over a time period, different technological innovations in this area, has resulted into a new concept of Decentralized Waste Water Treatment Systems (DWWT) (called as onsite treatment). In DWWT systems, generated waste water will be treated at source only, by adopting different natural and chemical treatment options. This system has numerous advantages like no energy consumption, easy operation and maintenance and most important is reuse of treated waste water. Reuse of treated waste water is the need of the hour for sustainability of water resources and human being.
Jawaharlal Nehru Engineering College (JNEC), a constituent college of MGM University, Aurangabad sets an example in Marathwada region by establishing DWWT in the campus. The campus has in house decentralized sewage treatment plant, of 6 MLD capacity. Waste water generated from different sources within the campus, is treated effectively. It has units like screen chamber, aeration, settling tank, vertical multi-grade filters and disinfection tank to remove suspended impurities, turbidity, and odour from waste water. Treated waste water quality is checked in house on a daily basis in order to keep a track on the efficiency of the system. Treated waste water is circulated back to the campus, for gardening and flushing of toilets.
This shows the closing the water loop wherein generated waste water is treated at the source only and reused. Ultimately it leads to conservation and management of water resources. A closed loop water cycle has played vital role in developing green and serene campus. MGM University campus is regarded as breath of fresh air in Aurangabad city due to widespread greenery maintained in the campus. This initiative in MGM University is in sync with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) adopted by United Nations to achieve development with social, economical and most importantly environmental sustainability.Let’s Use, Treat & Reuse water before it’s too late!!!
(Author is Assistant Professor from Department of Civil Engineering of Jawaharlal Nehru Engineering College which is constituent college of MGM University, Aurangabad.)