Agri Business

India-EU project for waste water reuse raises crop yield

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018

Crops such as okra, brinjal and chilli plants – irrigated with re-used treated waste water under a jointly funded India-EU project – have shown increased yields of up to 40 per cent as compared to those irrigated by fresh water, according to a review.

The technology for integrated bio-treated wastewater reuse, developed under the joint project ‘Water4Crops’ launched in 2012, was put to use on a pilot basis in five States – Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

“This technology of treated domestic wastewater is finding acceptance amongst the rural people and has good potential to scale-up in the country to address the issues of health and sanitation in rural areas as well as meeting the water demand for agriculture,” said Suhas P Wani, project leader and director, Asia region, Icrisat.

The approximate cost for developing a wetland project is between ₹3 lakh and ₹5 lakh, depending on its size, Wani added. Under the project, many wetland plant species such as canna indica, lemongrass, naiper, para grass, typha, water hyacinth, water lettuce and a weed species Agaratum conyzoides, have been identified for purifying the wastewater.

The project also proved that the construction of wetlands reduces the amount of pollutants in wastewater by 30-92 per cent, Wani added.

The European Commission, in 2012, put in €6 million, the four-year Water4Crops-EU project, while India through its Department of Biotechnology, put in €3 millionfor a twin project, Water4Crops-India.

The EU consortium includes 21 partners from eight countries and an Indian consortium of 11 research and development partners led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat).

Based on the pilot sites at the Icrisat headquarters in Hyderabad and other locations, a total of 28 watershed sites are now supported by various corporates under corporate social responsibility projects as well as Karnataka’s Bhoo Samruddhi program and Andhra Pradesh Primary Sector Mission Rythu Kosam, where a decentralised wastewater treatment approach is being implemented.

“Now the challenge is to scale up the programme and spread it to all parts of the country. We are in talks with states, Indian industry and the international industry to help in the scaling up,” said YS Chowdary, Minister of State, Ministry of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences addressing the media at the projects’ three-day review and planning meeting on Wednesday.

At the factories of two Indian consortium partners – SABMiller in Sangareddy, Telangana, and KCP Sugar and Industries in Lakshmipuram, Andhra Pradesh, wetlands were constructed to treat the effluent coming from effluent treatment plants, according to the review. Similarly, constructed wetlands were used to treat municipal wastewater at multiple locations in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.

Published on June 15, 2016

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