July 25, 2016

ITP Video: Wastewater Bazaar

Indian cities generate more than 40,000 million liters of wastewater everyday; enough to irrigate more than 2 mha of farmland each year. This ITP-PiC video captures an institutional innovation in wastewater management...

Wastewater Bazaar

IWMI-Tata Program and People-in-Centre Consulting

As India urbanizes, it will have to find better ways of dealing with its municipal wastewater. Our current capacity to treat urban wastewater is less than 30 per cent of generation and even this capacity is under-utilized. Municipalities view wastewater as a headache; large treatment plants, where they exist, often act merely as wastewater accumulators since municipalities do not have finances to operate and maintain these energy-guzzling units. As a result, wastewater if often released downstream without any treatment. This also explains why most rivers that run through big cities start to look and smell like drains.

In semi-arid north Gujarat's Unjha town, the municipality has found a novel way of managing its wastewater. Peri-urban farmers realize that wastewater is rich with nutrient content and are willing to pay for it. The municipality auctions its wastewater to the highest bidder who, in turn, delivers it to farmers at a price. Wastewater is a perennial and reliable source for irrigation water, reduces farmers' expenditure on fertilizers and is highly productive.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting and clearly this can be spread to other cities. I do remember IWMI in the early 90s documenting similar auctioning of urban wastewater in medium sized Pakistani cities so I presume there are other cases around the world.