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DBT works towards clean & sustainable water for all


Nature for Water – explores ways to use nature to overcome the water challenges

Rapid fire:

  • Several measures taken to keep water resources clean & supply clean water to the country
  • India-Europe collaboration on Water4Crops integrate bio-treated wastewater reuse with enhanced water use efficiency to support agriculture
  • Collaboration with Netherlands aggregates technologies to clean Delhi’s Barapullah drain
  • Studies supported to explore wetland plants for textile effluent treatment at industrial scale
  • Several Bio-toilet technologies generated & bio-toilets installed
  • Developed empowered septic tank as decentralized wastewater treatment system

DBT has undertaken several measures to keep our water resources clean, supply clean water to the country and provide help to water scarce agriculture sector.

International collaborations have been leveraged to develop technologies to provide clean water for various end uses like drinking and agriculture. The department’s support has helped develop green remediation process for textile dyes in wastewaters, developed empowered septic tank as decentralized wastewater treatment system, reduced water scarcity in several areas by constructing wetlands with plant.

India-Europe collaboration on Water4Crops boosts farmer income
The European Union and Government of India co-funded project Integrating Bio-treated Wastewater Reuse with Enhanced Water Use Efficiency to Support the Green Economy in EU and India.

It has shown remarkable success in reducing water scarcity and helping safe reuse of wastewater in agriculture. By constructing wetlands with plant species such as Cann indica, lemon grass (Cymbopogon), napier (Pennisetum perpureum X Pennisetum americarnum), para grass (Urochloa mutica), typha (Typha latifolia), water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) and a weed species Agaratum Conyzoides the chemical oxygen demand in wastewaters have been reduced by 30 92%. Moreover, yield evaluations have shown increased crop yields (14 to 40%) of crops like okra, brinjal and chilly irrigated with treated wastewater as compared to fresh water.

The initiative involved 11 Indian institutes and 21 EU institutes to bring about better management of water, land & crops aimed at a viable, stronger & sustainable green economy at an amount of 19 Million Euros.

Indian consortium partners have demonstrated the use of constructed wetland as decentralized wastewater treatment systems for both industrial and municipal wastewater. At the SAB Miller plant in Sangareddy, Telangana, and K.C.P. Sugar and Industries Corporation Ltd in Lakshmipuram, Andhra Pradesh, constructed wetlands were prepared to treat the effluent coming from effluent treatment plant of the factories. Similarly, constructed wetlands were used to treat municipal wastewater at multiple locations in the Indian states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka.

Cleaning of water bodies containing textile industry effluents through Macrophytes
Combined treatment of T. angustifolia and P. scrobiculatum was found to be more effective for treatment of textile dyes and real industrial effluent than individual plants.waste290816 (1)

Textile dye processing industries use a huge number of various classes of coloring agents, such as direct, reactive, sulfide, acid and cationic dyes, which are later found in the released effluents.

Pollution caused by textile industries is the result of discharge of these dyes and other processing chemicals into the environment. Because of the presence of complex mixture of dyes, acids, bases, fasteners etc., textile effluents generally have high chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), dissolved solids, suspended solids and other toxic heavy metals. Allergic reactions, mutagenicity, carcinogenicity and acute cytotoxicity of textile dyes on crop plants, fishes, molluscs, rats, microbes and cultured mammalian cells are well documented evidences of dye toxicities. Treatment of dye containing industrial wastewater is therefore highly desirable before their discharge into the naturally occurring water bodies.
Phytoremediation process possesses adsorption, accumulation, degradation and biotransformation of pollutant by the action of enzymes or metabolism of plants. The plant induced peroxidase and laccase have potential to decolorize and degrade various pollutants. Significant induction in specific activities of oxido-reductive enzymes such as lignin peroxidase (193%), veratryl alcohol oxidase (823%), laccase (492%) and azoreductase (248%) was observed in root tissues of T. angustifolia.
Co-plantation of T. angustifolia and P. scrobiculatum in a drench was found to achieve more efficient treatment than the drenches with individual species. Use of aquatic macrophytes and their co-plantation could be a wise strategy for future wastewater clean-up programs. This work is performed by Prof Sanjay Govindwar of Department of Biochemistry, Shivaji University, Kolhapur, India at HRTS of 5 star MIDC, Kagal, India.

Collaboration with Dutch for cleaning Delhi’s Barapullah drainSB-Img-4
DBT has collaborated with Dutch to help clean Delhi’s Barapullah drain then finally initiate efforts to keep the Yamuna clean.

In the next five years, a wastewater treatment plant to make the filthy water potable is scheduled to be set up besides removing heavy metals from the water for reuse. Barapullah Nullah is a 12.5 km-long storm water drain responsible for about 30% of pollution in the Yamuna River collecting domestic sewage and polluting waste from small industry from Mehrauli in the south to Sarai Kale Khan in the east.

The project supports high quality research and development programmes aiming at ‘new’ wastewater management to ensure good quality fresh water free of risk-causing contaminants and promote productive, safe reuse of water, thereby enhancing human and environmental health conditions.

Empowered septic tank as decentralized wastewater treatment system
This project by the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani Goa campus, aims to develop a financially affordable and simple-to-operate decentralized wastewater treatment system for a single household as well as for a gated community of 100 people equivalent (25 families) that will produce high quality effluent for safe disposal. The waste treatment system will involve the bio-electrolysis of wastewater to reduce its Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and odor. The project has constructed and is currently testing the decentralized wastewater treatment system for a community of 100 people equivalent and will undertake extensive testing of effluent.
Novel bio-toilet technologies supported by DBT

  • Innovative bio-toilet ideas generated through Reinvent the Toilet Challenge India launched by the Grand Challenges India framework
  • Six new bio-toilet technologies supported
  • Hundred toilets set up to demonstrate technology
  • Several bio-toilets set up in schools of North Eastern States
  • Technologies focused on redesigning the toilet seat, making it more eco-friendly
  • Off-grid, self-sustained, modular, electronic toilet for slums, with solar energy for Indian weather and integrated with mixed waste processing unit & water, energy/ fertilizer recovery
  • Septic tank empowered by converting them into decentralized wastewater treatment system.