Jal Jeevan Mission is one of the flagship programs of the Indian government and is envisioned to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India. It looks forward to creating a Jan Andolan for water, thereby making it everyone’s priority. According to the official data, JJM has reached 60% of its countrywide target, adding 23.4 million households in the fiscal year ended 2022-23. Of India’s total of 190.4 million rural households, 116 million now have a functioning water tap. Truly remarkable for a piped water mission launched in 2019, as it provides relief and empowers lives in rural India.
‘No one’s left out’. This is the motto of Jal Jeevan mission. It ensures water supply to every household irrespective of economic status. However, rural household is just one of the water consuming sectors. What about non-domestic consumption? Among the major sectors of non-domestic consumption viz. industrial, institutional and commercial, public uses, and fire demand; the industrial sector is said to have maximum water demand nationally as well as globally. According to CPCB, it accounts for 8% of the total water footprint in the country compared to 4% of domestic consumption. As the years pass by, due to haphazard urbanization, the water demand in the industrial and energy sector is increasing at a rate of 4.2% per year. Knowing this, let’s take a look at what the government has to offer as far as efficient water usage in industries is concerned.
Atal Bhujal Yojana: It aims to improve groundwater management through community participation. Expected results are enhanced groundwater data storage, exchange, analysis and dissemination. Improved and realistic water budgeting based on an improved database and preparation of community-led Water Security Plans at the Panchayat level.
Namami Gange: One of the flagship programs by the Union Government to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of the National River Ganga. Its key achievements in the industrial sector are creating sewage treatment capacity and Industrial Effluent Monitoring.
National Water Mission: It ensures integrated water resource management helping to conserve water, minimize wastage and ensure more equitable distribution both across and within states. It deals with the reports generated by six committees in which two are related to industries namely, the Efficient Use of Water for various purposes committee, Domestic and industrial water management committee.
CADWM Program : The main objective of taking up CAD works is to enhance the utilization of irrigation potential created, and improve agriculture production on a sustainable basis through Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM).
Apart from this, giving tax-based incentives to encourage water reuse and investment in technologies to meet the more stringent effluent standards, and levies on freshwater extraction are some other proposed measures. All these initiatives are somewhat lagging in making a real ground impact. With the dependence of several hundred million basic livelihoods on groundwater, the incentive to move from extractive behavior [in groundwater] towards management-dominated behavior is very poor. Efforts should be made in making industries water positive. Each industry should be functioning in a water- positive way. 100% water efficiency must be the new norm. While JJM is a step towards providing people the basic right to access water, the water quality and quantity pose a huge challenge for a country that is among the most water-stressed in the world. Industries being the most water-intensive, need to be regulated with strict water sustainability measures. But the current scenario tells a different story. According to official data, most countries have not developed instruments (either regulations or economic incentives) and related institutional structures for reallocating water between sectors, or for internalizing the externalities which arise when one user affects the quantity and quality of water available to another group. If the mismanagement and ill-treatment of this resource continue like this, there is less hope for a harmonious water availability in the future. So what can help us? Innovations in the field of water sustainability. Apart from farming, garment & textiles, meat production, beverage industries and automotive manufacturing are huge water guzzlers. Innovative players like FluxGen Technologies are revolutionizing industries by effectively de-risking them from water crisis. Increasing the reach of such start-ups and companies in the industrial sector can transform the current picture. The government with its policies alone cannot tackle the looming water crises at such a large scale. They need the support of the latest innovations in the markets. For instance, access to water data has been reduced and there is an urgent need to bring back data transparency. Iot-based smart water quality monitoring systems measure perilous quality metrics like physical, chemical and microbial properties and provide real-time analysis of the sensor data and recommend appropriate corrective measures. This is just one of the many applications of such devices. While Jal Jeevan mission visions to provide an adequate drinking water supply on a regular and long-term basis to raise the living standard of rural populations. Merely working on infrastructure won’t suffice. People will choose the piped water supply over their local water resources only when the water meets the quality and quantity parameters. This task is complex and requires well-planned water management and distribution. We hope that government will take judicious steps in this direction along with their commendable policies to ensure a water secure India for all…
~ Pragya Singh
FluxGen -Marketing Intern