Regional Workshop on ‘Energy and Resource Efficiency in Urban Water Management’ in Kolkata, West Bengal on June 20, 2013
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) organized a one day regional workshop on ‘Energy and Resource Efficiency in Urban Water Management’ on June 20, 2013 at the Mahanayak Manch, Unnayan Bhawan, Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), Kolkata, West Bengal. The workshop was supported by Urban Development Department (UDD) and KMDA as the local state partner. The workshop is part of various activities supported by Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission - Comprehensive Capacity Building Programme (JnNURM – CCBP), Ministry of Urban Development and Government of India. The workshop was attended by representatives of West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand and Meghalaya.
At the inaugural session, Mr. Arup Kumar Saha, CEO, KMDA welcomed the participants representing key functionaries from Municipal Corporations, Public Health Departments, Water and Sanitation Boards, Ground Water Boards, Pollution Control Boards, Programme Management Units (PMU), Programme Implementation Units (PIU) and local bodies of the Government of West Bengal, Meghalaya, Jharkhand and Odisha. Other key participants included faculty and researchers from IIT- Kanpur, IIT-Kharagpur, IIT- Guwahati, Jadavpur University, Bengal Engineering and Science University- Shibpur (BESU); institutions (Centre for Built Environment, All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Institute of Environmental Studies & Wetland Management), consultants (IPE Global, GIZ India), private practitioners (Unitech Water Technologies) and NGOs (Vasundhara Foundation) involved in the advocacy of sustainable urban water and wastewater management in target states. The Mayor of Chandannagar was also present during the inaugural session of the workshop.
The Chief Guest of the programme, Mr. Debashis Sen, Principal Secretary, UDD, Government of West Bengal presented a policy overview for energy and resource efficiency in urban water management in West Bengal. He stated that given the rate of rapid urbanization in India and shortage of land, we can no longer afford huge conventional treatment plants and consequently stressed on the need to prioritize more efficient and mechanized plants that are using latest state of the art technologies. He also highlighted the need to reduce excessive water consumption and misuse though increasing social consciousness and awareness in addition to technological advancements. He questioned the need to subsidize water supply if excessive water is being extracted/consumed or misused by consumers. He also talked about water quality in addition to water supply and mentioned that the state of West Bengal has decided to treat 10% of wastewater through membrane technology for tertiary treatment. He concluded by claiming that although West Bengal is doing a fairly good job in water supply/sewerage, it needs to move towards a new era which will be more efficient and technologically
This was followed by a presentation on ‘Energy and resource efficiency in urban water management- challenges & potential for enabling paradigm shift under NURM’ by Dr. Suresh Rohilla, CSE. He presented an overview of water/wastewater management in the NURM phase I and the objectives set up for the phase II. He underlined the importance of linkage between water and energy as being the key object for the NURM phase II. This would lead to establishment of ‘smart cities’ that would be carbon neutral and energy efficient. He also stressed on the need to understand the socio-economic connect for innovative technological interventions. He emphasized the need to make water everybody’s business. He set the tone of the workshop by laying out the objectives of the regional workshop as follows:
To generate awareness about the best management practices (BMPs), state of the art knowledge and reforms in the area of energy and resources efficiency.
To discuss with key stakeholders the concept, issues/barriers and experiences in mainstreaming of BMPs/NURM reforms in the sustainable water management area.
To explore capacity building support required to implement projects aimed at mainstreaming BMPs and reforms in the NURM schemes.
Other speakers at the workshop included many experts. Prof. Vinod Tare (IIT-Kanpur) talked about water and sanitation in urban centers with specific reference to the interconnectivity between land and energy. He highlighted the need for a paradigm shift from a linear to circular loop involving reuse and recycle of treated wastewater. Prof. Somanth Sen (IIT- Kharagpur) gave a presentation on the water sensitive planning at residential level where he talked about effective ways of rainwater collection and reducing pervious coverage. The latter will result in reduction of stormwater runoff that can be effectively utilized. Prof. Arup Sarma (IIT- Guwahati) shared information on ecological and energy efficient practices for storm water management. He stressed on the need for optimal ecological management practices such as watershed management to reduce runoff and sediment flow and to have efficient water management. Dr. Joyashree Roy (Jadavpur University) talked about efficiency and equity in urban water access. She emphasized the need of both technology and economic viability in water supply/sewerage systems. Dr. Regina Dube (GIZ- India) talked about the National Urban Sanitation Policy Program (NUSP) and process of developing City Sanitation Plans as underlined in NSUP.
There were two panel sessions that dealt with operational challenges and strategies for mainstreaming reforms/ BMPS in NURM projects. The first panel ‘Mainstreaming Energy & Resource efficiency in sustainable urban water management’ was chaired by Prof. Santosh Ghosh, Centre for Built Environment and co-chaired by Prof. Souvanic Roy, BESU. The need for water utilities to see both the surface/storm water and groundwater in conjunction was stressed upon. The second panel on ‘Mainstreaming Energy & Resource efficiency in sustainable urban wastewater management’ was chaired by Prof. K.J. Nath, Institution of Public Health Engineers. The issue of water quality and need to pave way for newer technologies was highlighted. It was also stressed to change the mindset of consumers to accept reuse/recycle of the treated wastewater.
The workshop concluded on the note that decentralized water and wastewater management will be the key for sustainable urban water management in the future given the rate of rapid urbanization in the country. It was also agreed upon that energy and resource efficiency will definitely lead to reduction in the cost for utilities to supply water and treat wastewater; and consequently these aspects need to be urgently incorporated by the ULBs in the planning and implementation of the relevant DPRs.