Towards 'Zero Liquid Discharge Cities’ On Water Week

NMCG puts the spotlight on rejuvenation, protection and restoration of river basins on Stockholm World Water Week 2021

Planet Outlook
August 27, 2021
Towards 'Zero Liquid Discharge Cities’ On Water Week

The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) hosted the third 'Meet & Mingle' session on ‘Zero Liquid Discharge Cities’ on the Final Day of the Stockholm World Water Week 2021. Sumouleendra Ghosh, Global Water Lead, KPMG, introduced NMCG as an integrated mission focusing on rejuvenation, protection, and restoration of the Ganga River Basin, one of the largest river basins across the globe. To set the context of the session, he explained that Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) is a well-known concept but currently associated with industries. However, it is time to extend the ZLD concept to Indian cities as well. We all are aware of climate change manifesting its threats through water-related issues in the form of floods, inundation, sea-level rise or droughts. Many Indian and global cities are already facing threats of acute water security and to manage and mitigate the risk we need to emphasize recycling and reuse of treated wastewater.  Just like Net Zero in carbon emissions, the concept of ZLD is an aspiration in this journey to increase the reuse of treated wastewater and the session will cover the issues of treated wastewater reuse in cities.

Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, NMCG, said that this is an aspirational topic and industries are already being mobilized to achieve it, but cities need to concentrate their focus to achieve ZLD. The Ganga basin is one of the most important and unique basins in India and NMCG has been taking crucial steps to operationalize IRBM and Urban River Management Plan for making the river healthy. “We need to focus on overall water cycle including the ecological and economical need and nothing should be wasted”, he said and that,” We should not let out wastewater in the rivers and should consider naming this water differently based on its functionality for recycling and reuse.

Mishra further said that NMCG emphasized a focus on developing policies and other operational interventions to achieve ZLD at the city level. He shared that NMCG in collaboration with GIZ India has developed a national-level framework for the reuse of treated wastewater in India. He mentioned that the Mathura Refinery project is a good example of the wastewater reuse initiative of NMCG by collaborating with industries. We need to on association with power, agriculture and other sectors, collaborate with academic institutions to provide research solutions and administrative support in regulatory and operational aspects.