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Unlocking wastewater treatment, water re-use and resource recovery opportunities for urban and peri-urban areas in India

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PAVITRA GANGA (Unlocking wastewater treatment, water re-use and resource recovery opportunities for urban and peri-urban areas in India)

Reporting period: 2019-02-01 to 2020-07-31

India’s water resources are under severe stress resulting from overexploitation and pollution. The Indian government has started the Namami Gange programme in line with the sustainable development goals (SDG), including the improvement of wastewater treatment. PAVITRA GANGA links directly to these programmes and builds on existing cooperation between EU/India, supported by national governments. The core of the project is to tackle the major environmental challenges in India, especially the dead rivers, considering the limited economic resources for wastewater treatment. We are focusing on innovative cost effective and energy efficient solutions for the treatment of (unregulated) drains, the improvement of existing treatment installations, as well as decentralized sewage treatment for urban and peri-urban settings. In doing so, we take advantage of the economic and development opportunities of water re-use and recovery of resources within the framework of the Circular Economy. In collaboration with local stakeholders and supported by industrial partners we are setting up a new pilot site at the Jajmau wastewater treatment plant at Kanpur and extending the pilot site testing at the Barapullah Drain (New Delhi). The pilot testing evaluates the performance innovative wastewater treatment and resource recovery technologies. In addition, smart water management tools (monitoring and modelling) are being evaluated for the two case areas to improve the management and planning of water resources, as well as to assess the potential impact of the wastewater treatment and resource recovery technologies. The issues around water governance are also tackled to identify the factors and the barriers to successful wastewater and resource recovery management, as well as develop protocols for wastewater safety planning. The three project pillars of demonstrating innovative wastewater treatment and resource recovery technologies; smart water management tools (monitoring and modelling); and water governance assessment and stakeholder engagement are underpinned by capacity building, identifying business opportunities to upscale innovations and communication and dissemination of project activities and outcomes. The overall objective of PAVITRA GANGA is to fulfil SDG6 by unlocking the environmental and economic potential of municipal wastewater treatment and reuse solutions for urban and peri-urban areas in India. This is achieved by the following specific research and innovation objectives: create policy and social support for innovative technologies through stakeholder engagement (WP2); evaluate & improve promising wastewater treatment, reuse and recovery technologies at lab scale (WP3); deliver smart water quality monitoring & modelling solutions for two case areas (WP4); demonstrate and validate innovative technologies in real Indian wastewater settings at pilot scale (WP5); establish long lasting cooperation in capacity building and knowledge sharing (WP6); establish future market uptake and post-project exploitation of the demonstrated technologies (WP7); and, communicate and disseminate the project activities and outcomes (WP8).
On 14th February there was an official KO of all EU-India Water Projects in New Delhi. VITO came to the KO meeting and was joined by representatives of the Indian partners in Pavitra Ganga. At the KO event VITO and TERI jointly presented to a panel of Indian experts and the funding agencies the goals, objectives and expected impact of the Pavitra Ganga project. Most of the first year was taken up with consultations and meetings with partners and stakeholders to define the actions and plan the underlying work for the project tasks. The Indian funding was sanctioned in M9 of the project (October 2919), and work in all work packages could fully commence. The First General Assembly took place at IIT Delhi from 2 March to 4 March 2020, when first results could be reviewed, and a thorough planning could be presented and finalised. Despite the slow start important achievements have been made during the First Reporting Period. Two stakeholder engagement and consultation workshops were held in India and a full assessment of 13 cases in Europe and India was carried out to identify the barriers and factors determining good water governance (WP2). This resulted in full length report and policy brief which is published on our website. Laboratory work for all the proposed waste water treatment and resource recovery technologies was carried out both in Europe and in India (WP3), which provided important insights into designing the pilots. In addition, a full assessment of the boundary conditions for technology development under Indian conditions was carried out for the four pilot treatment trains at the Barapullah Drain site and the Jajmau STP. The baseline assessment of the water quality, water quantity and current infrastructures in the two case areas was started, including preliminary hydrological modelling results in Kanpur (WP4). This assessment will continue into the next reporting period. The baseline assessment will need to include a full water quality monitoring campaign which could not start in the First Reporting Period. Work was carried out to deliver a characterisation of the wastewater and the drain water at the two pilot sites, based on historical data. In addition, a first version of the report establishing the analytical protocols and methods at the pilot sites was delivered. This will be updated during the Second Reporting Period with TrOCs methods when the LC-MS at IIT Delhi is up and running reliably. There was also work carried out to prepare the two innovation sites for the piloting of the wastewater treatment technologies (WP5). The pilots of technologies have been designed but the procurement is an ongoing process. Work was also carried out to set up communication and dissemination tools (a project website, social media platforms, flyers etc..) to share our work to the wider community and to successfully launch the project (WP8). Preliminary work was done to plan in the content and timing of the project capacity building workshops (WP6) and to develop the necessary contacts for initiating an EU-India Business Platform (WP7).
PAVITRA GANGA is very much in the starting and preparation phase for the wastewater treatment and resource recovery technology development and piloting. Progress has been made with stakeholder engagement and consultations, with a desk-top study of Indian and European cases, to identify the barriers and factors determining good water governance. This resulted in a policy brief “Mainstreaming governance on waste water treatment and water re-use: learnings from India and the European Union” that is published on the PAVITRA GANGA website. Progress has also been made in developing the baseline assessment of the two case areas, developing a WEAP based water quality baseline scenario for the Kanpur Metropolitan Area. Both developments highlight the opportunities but also the bottlenecks to delivering wastewater treatment, water re-use and resource recovery to policy makers and the general public so that mistakes and good practices from the past can improve future services to the community.