Industrial units, thermal plants to use only treated water: Maharashtra government
The Maharashtra government has made it the primary responsibility of urban local bodies (ULBs) — municipal corporations and municipal councils — to reuse treated sewage water by installing tertiary treatment plants. The government has also made it mandatory for thermal power plants and industries in the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) areas to start using only treated sewage water after being made available by ULBs.
The state cabinet on Wednesday cleared a policy for the treatment and reuse of sewage water, giving the units a deadline of three years to adhere to it. The move is a bid to conserve water. The decision states that water-guzzling thermal power plants and industries in the MIDC areas will not get fresh water after three years. This also means that civic corporations and councils will have to install treatment plants soon.
“Our idea is to save fresh water and utilise it where it is required the most. This can be done only by reusing sewage water for non-potable use,” said Manisha Mhaiskar, principal secretary, urban development department (UDD. She said once the ULBs make the treated water available, the fresh water reserved for MIDCs will be scrapped. This will free up more water from dams for drinking and irrigation purposes.
The government has approved three types of finance models, linked with Centre’s Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), to make setting up of such plants financially viable for the ULBs. Under the scheme, the central government will bear 50% cost of the project, while the rest will be divided equally by the state and the ULB concerned, said Mhaiskar.
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 makes it mandatory for ULBs to treat sewage water with secondary level treatment before releasing it in to the sea. Currently, 21 cities in the state have such facilities and treat a total of 4,738 million litres a day (MLD) of sewage water, while another 50 cities are in the process of setting up treatment plants that will treat an additional 2,150 MLD of sewage water. However, the state is still a long way from treating all of its sewage water. Even Mumbai releases 655 MLD of untreated water directly into the sea.