On the occasion of World Water Day, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation organised a two day National Workshop on Management of Grey Water in Rural Areas and Arsenic and Fluoride Remediation (March 21, 22) in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras with support from UNICEF India.
The plenary session of the Workshop was addressed by Mr. Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Director, IIT Madras Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthy. Highlights of the first day and proceeding of the second day of the Workshop are as under.
Speaking at the workshop, Secretary Mr. Iyer said that after achieving good sanitation coverage under Swachh Bharat Mission, the country is transiting from ODF (Open Defecation Free) to ODF+ status and to sustain ODF status. Significant research and technology inputs are required to have standards for grey water discharge, and local level manageable low-cost solutions for its management. The workshop included discussions on the need for integration of policy, research, technology and skill development for effective grey water management in rural areas.
On Day 2, an overview and policy aspects on water affected with arsenic and fluoride were presented, including policy level interventions to address the arsenic and fluoride contamination, health effects and communication strategies for creating awareness at community level about the adverse effects of these contaminations.
The session on greywater policy discussed the international and national and policies on grey water and its relevance to Indian context. Emphasis was made on setting standards for grey water reuse for agriculture and groundwater recharge.
Various technologies, ranging from a simple soak pit, phytoremediation to membrane-based grey water treatment were discussed. It was emphasised that the technologies to be adopted in rural areas need to be simple, require less skill level for construction, operation and maintenance.
In the States’ session, State Governments of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Telangana, Punjab presented their experience on managing the grey water in rural areas. Accessing financial resources by integrating different schemes for construction of grey water recharge structures and beneficial health and economic aspects were highlighted.
The technologies session for arsenic and fluoride contamination focussed on different available technologies to remove localised arsenic/fluoride like terra fill to advanced ones like nanotechnology-based solutions, membrane technologies and community-based approach for fluoride remediation. Five States affected with arsenic/fluoride – West Bengal, Tamilnadu, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan – made presentations on strategies to provide contaminant-free potable water.