My Vision for India’s Industrial Water Sector

Over the years, we have seen an increasing number of areas in India becoming water stressed. This results in lesser water available for everyone, including for human consumption, for the agricultural as well as the industrial sector. Compounded by existing poor conditions of our farmers, water scarcity has been causing additional distress to the rural agrarian economy.

I believe that the industrial sector needs to play an important role and step up to conserve water responsibly. Doing this will contribute towards equitable distribution and usage of water across the country. There are a multitude of technologies available to industries ranging from pre treatment, to recycling and reusing water. Added to this are the zero liquid discharge (ZLD) technologies that are available today to ensure that the tail end of treated waste water does not pollute the surrounding land or ground water. This helps organisations meet statutory pollution control regulations and at the same time, act responsibly towards preserving the environment.

My agenda for prudent and responsible use of industrial wastewater is as follows:
1. Amount of fresh water consumed by industry needs to be brought down to minimal levels. This can be done by using water efficient technologies such as air-cooled heat exchangers (ACHE), other process improvements and by treating and recycling wastewater. Today, there are several examples of industries being provided with city/municipal sewage as the source for their water requirements and running almost completely without any fresh water input.

2. All new projects ought to be mandated to utilise limited water for process. Based on the final product volume produced, this can be mandated on globally implemented benchmarks and best practices. For e.g. Recently, Praj has helped a large chemical industry bring down their fresh water consumption by almost 70%. starting from the planning stage, it was done by integrating the customer’s wastewater treatment plant into their overall project.

3. Retrofit existing plants with equipment to recycle and reuse water.

4. Minimise damage to the environment and especially water bodies/ground water by implementing Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) technologies.

5. Generate biogas from wastewater wherever possible. This achieves the dual goals of generating energy, while also purifying and treating water. Praj has commercialized technologies to achieve this.

6. Industries to recharge ground water through rain water harvesting.

Name: S Suresh Kumar

Designation: Executive VP & BU Head – Water & Waste water Solutions