The Government of Karnataka approved a policy for wastewater reuse for urban centres in December 2017, marking the culmination of extensive stakeholder deliberations to support the enabling environment for wastewater reuse. The policy, coupled with the establishment of a Wastewater Reuse Resource Cell to implement the policy, has been developed under the Urban Water Workstream of 2030WRG’s Karnataka Multi-Stakeholder Platform for Water (MSP-Water).
2030WRG established a multi-stakeholder wastewater reuse policy committee, which comprised members from the Government of Karnataka, private sector and civil society, including Toyota Kirloskar Motors, Jindal Steel Works, Arghyam, and Biome Environmental Trust, among others; and supported policy drafting.
The policy provides a comprehensive framework for wastewater reuse in Karnataka, integrating principles of cost recovery, equity and sustainability for urban wastewater management. It also includes a special focus on industrial reuse of treated urban wastewater, with the intention of supporting financial sustainability of urban local bodies and mitigating water supply risks for industry. Salient features of the policy, which covers all Class I and II urban centres, include,
• Reuse of not less than 20% STW is targeted, as a combined average across sectors, of total urban wastewater generated for identified Karnataka urban centers by 2020;
• At least 10 major cities/towns will have adopted integrated water resource management plans, developed as multi-sectoral initiatives and incorporating wastewater reuse principles and implementation plans therein, by 2020;
• Industrial estates/ zones within [30 km] of a sewage treatment plant (STP) mandatorily examine, as a first option, available secondary treated wastewater (STW) from the STP;
• The Department of Industries and Commerce may set a voluntary target for use of STW to comprise (indicatively) 20% of the total state-wide industrial water use, including energy sector, by 2020;
• Policy specifically seeks to acknowledge and encourage the practice of localized treatment of wastewater through constructed wetlands;
• Agricultural, industrial and urban non-potable uses will be considered to contribute to the reuse target;
• Tariff proposed (in Rs/KL) is applicable at the plant gate, or at in-city locations en-route of the sewerage network. The off-taker is responsible for meeting additional cost of conveyance to a specified location;
• Where off-take for industrial reuse requires tertiary treatment of a specific volume of STW to be undertaken by the city, operational costs for the same shall be recovered from industry through additional charges;
• ULBs will explore Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) as a possible option for implementation of wastewater reuse projects.
An important feature of the policy is the constitution of a Wastewater Resource Cell to facilitate policy implementation. The Resource Cell, established at the state level will act as an information and transaction facilitation unit to support the development of projects, with the aim of ensuring that relevant quality parameters for each reuse category are met, towards development of innovative, cost-effective, and context-specific solutions for wastewater treatment and reuse. The centre will establish connections with global partners to reinforce and accelerate the transfer of best practices and shared learnings from implementation of wastewater reuse initiatives globally. Furthermore, the roles and responsibilitiesof other various bodies under the policy include,
• Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) will be responsible for monitoring secondary treated wastewater quality from treatment plants;
• Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA) will co-ordinate alignment of wastewater reuse projects to AMRUT – Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation/alternate Government of India programs;
• Urban Development Department will undertake monitoring the performance of wastewater reuse projects, Budget and resource allocation, and Active partnerships;
• Department of Industries and Commerce will establish voluntary target for treated wastewater to comprise 20% of the total state-wide industrial water use by 2020;
• Department of Energy will coordinate partnerships of thermal power plants with urban centres within 50 km radius for off-take of all STW available.
A Management Committee constituted as part of the policy will monitor and supervise the implementation of the policy, chaired by the Secretary, Urban Development Department.
2030WRG’s work on wastewater reuse builds upon its earlier hydro-economic analyses on:
• Karnataka’s urban-industrial sectors (https://www.2030wrg.org/team/creating-a-sustainable-future-for-karnataka-urban-and-industrial-sector/);
• Rapid assessment of wastewater reuse for Karnataka https://www.2030wrg.org/team/wastewater-reuse-potential-rapid-assessment-of-urban-wastewater-reuse-opportunities-in-three-cities-of-karnataka/);
• A practitioner’s guide on circular economy pathways for municipal wastewater in India (https://www.2030wrg.org/team/circular-economy-pathways-for-municipal-wastewater-management-in-India-a-practitioners-guide/).