A 3-part Webinar Series on Reimagining Reuse of Treated Wastewater in Agriculture in India: Technology, Finance, and Governance Perspectives

Background

With depleting freshwater sources and ballooning population, prioritizing water treatment is essential for India to build a circular economy. Several peri-urban areas that predominantly have agrarian landscapes are rapidly being converted into urban settlements with major changes in land use land cover pattern. The pace of this rapid urbanization surpasses the pace of infrastructure development, leading to a lack of basic amenities in peri-urban areas. Management of water resources and solid waste in these areas is highly challenging. Hence, there is a need for a review of harmonization on quality standards, criteria for discharge of water in the natural ecosystem, and integrating reuse and recycle of Treated Wastewater (TWW) to build a circular economy.

Currently, only around 30% to 40% of wastewater in India gets treated, with a few examples of this treated wastewater being reused. There is a need to mainstream the reuse of TWW in agriculture through various approaches and technologies as they provide enormous opportunities to build climate resilience; enhance circular economy of resources; improve ecosystems, public health, and water availability for farmers; as well as preserve livelihoods.

A virtual 3-part Webinar Series is being convened by 2030 WRG in collaboration with the Israel Economic and Trade Mission, World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD), India-EU Water Partnership (IEWP), and the Government of Maharashtra.

This Webinar Series will focus on the following dimensions of reuse of TWW in agriculture:

  • Webinar 1: Reuse and Applications of Treated Wastewater in Agriculture:
    Mapping the India Story and Insights from Israel (October 27, 2020)

    • See the session presentation here and the video recording here.
  • Webinar 2: Wastewater Treatment Systems and Technologies: Fit for Purpose – Fit for India (January 12, 2021)
    • See the session presentation here and the video recording here.
  • Webinar 3: Holistic Wastewater Management and Reuse: Integrated Planning, Reforms and Innovative Financing (April 22, 2021)
    • See the session presentation here and the video recording here.
Highlights from Webinar 1

Webinar 1 highlighted the increasing potential and appetite for reuse of treated wastewater in agriculture through case studies from Gujarat, Karnataka, and Zalta in Maharashtra; support through the National and State level policies on the reuse of treated wastewater; and success stories in Israel. The discussions also highlighted key considerations for reusing treated wastewater including:

  1. Standardization of treated water to ensure water quality for reuse
  2. Regulatory setup which looks into tariffs, discharge norms, cleaning guidelines, etc.
  3. Value of treated water and incentivizing the reuse of treated wastewater
  4. Partnerships with the private sector who have access to technology and finance
Focus of Webinar 2

Reuse and recycle of treated wastewater are important to build climate resilience, enhance the circular economy of resources, and preserve livelihoods. To facilitate the reuse of treated wastewater for non-potable applications including agriculture, National Green Tribunal (NGT) has laid out stringent quality standards regarding effluent discharge into natural water bodies for the ULBs and Industrial treatment units across the country.

Webinar 2 discussed mainstreaming the reuse of treated wastewater in agriculture through various integrated approaches and technologies including nature-based solutions, decentralized systems, sensors, and IoT-based solutions which may help encourage safer and sustainable agricultural production practices and usage.

For more information, please write to us at 2030wrg_mh@worldbank.org