Ranen Banerjee, Partner and Leader Public Sector and Governance, PwC, told media recently about the need for “developing wastewater reuse as a sector, identifying the interventions that could help in the development of this sector and also identifying suitable structures that can help in mainstreaming the implementation of wastewater reuse projects in the country”.
The Pricwaterhouse Coopers’ (PwC) report prepared on “Closing the water loop, reuse of treated wastewater in urban India” states that the situation warrants utilities and the government to ensure optimal use of available water resources while duly addressing the social, economic and commercial considerations.
“The wastewater sector will be driven by government initiatives based on which the implementation models will be designed,” Banerjee said. “Hence, sound policy and regulatory interventions by the central and state governments are a prerequisite for the launching of innovative reuse projects.”
Government interventions will need to focus on incentivising the use of reclaimed water and developing institutional support mechanisms, said Banerjee.
Underlining that the issue of water security ranks high in the minds of Indian policymakers with several cities facing water crises and the promotion of reuse is very important, Banerjee said: “The central and state governments should jointly issue a national wastewater reuse policy with clear policy targets, setting out the legislative, regulatory and financial measures needed to achieve those targets.”
He stressed that the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Water Resources should together define quality norms for different grades of industrial water which will help standardise design of reuse systems nationwide.
“National-level norms for water safety planning and risk management are also needed to build credibility for reclaimed water as a reliable alternative,” Banerjee added.