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Water Treatment in Industrialised India

| Editor: Marion Henig

Wastewater treatment is the key to ensure sustainability of water in India. (Picture: Shutterstock)
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Wastewater treatment is the key to ensure sustainability of water in India. (Picture: Shutterstock)

India’s rapid pace of industrialisation and urbanisation has brought with it a growing demand for water. A look at some of the technologies available to Indian industries and the current state of water management in the country.

The present-day industrial sector in India is riding high on a strong growth wave. More and more domestic manufacturers seeking to expand their production capabilities, while global giants are aiming to consolidate their Indian footprint and reduce production costs by setting up plants in the country. This, in turn, has fast-tracked the expansion of the sector, bringing with it several virtues such as mass employment opportunities and economic prosperity.

However, this rapid growth is not without its fair share of problems. With increasing global awareness about the environmental impact of urbanisation, Indian industries have suddenly found themselves in the midst of a raging storm about environmental responsibility and have earned themselves the unwanted tag of being ‘polluters’. Of the several accusations, water pollution and contamination is a bane that industries are working hard to overcome.

Industries in India contribute substantially to the national water demand, with industrial processes laying claim to close to 8 percent of the total water consumed in 2010. Industries also generate large volumes of effluents, which can pose a serious hazard, if they are released untreated into the environment. Statistics from the Central Water Commission reveal that for every tonne of petrochemicals produced, close to 17 cu. m of water is consumed and 13 cu. m of wastewater is generated. For water-intensive industries, such as textiles, 200 cu. m of water is consumed and 150 cu. m of wastewater is generated, per tonne of production.

The strong surge in industrialisation, coupled with the recent population explosion and rampant consumerism, has also prompted predictions of the national demand for water outstripping supply by 2050. This, despite the fact that India is home to approximately 4 percent of the world’s water resources.

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