Experts see emerging markets for Bangalore’s wastewater

The market potential of treated wastewater across sectors was front and center as researchers and stakeholders discussed ways to improve wastewater treatment and reuse in Bengaluru, at a workshop in the city on Wednesday .

The workshop, titled “Visions for Wastewater Reuse in Bengaluru and Beyond,” was organized by the Center for Social and Environmental Innovation (CSEI) of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment ( ATREE) and the Bangalore Apartments’ Federation (BAF).

The event brought together researchers from EAWAG, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology.

Bengaluru generates around 1,500 MLD (million liters per day) of wastewater, of which around 50% is treated and reused. The city has more than 2,500 onsite wastewater treatment systems, but few incorporate onsite reuse of treated wastewater, according to ATREE.

Dr. Ananth Kodavasal, an expert appointed by the National Green Tribunal and director of Ecotech Engineering Consultancy, said the way forward is to integrate the economic benefits of treated water with ideas about water security.

Vikram Rai, General Secretary of BAF, said that the approximately 1,100 Resident Welfare Associations under BAF have generated more than 150,000 KLD of additional treated water available at various quality levels.

“The ecosystem (for a treated water market) is being put in place. The supply is in place; the need is to build it into the demand structure and develop an accurate business model,” he said.

“Changing the Narrative”

Srinivasulu, member-secretary of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, said there is immense potential for a market around wastewater.

“There’s the technology, there’s the opportunity; what is missing are confidence-building measures. There is a need to change the narrative from presenting treated water as a pollution control measure to a solution to water problems in Bengaluru and beyond,” he said.

Abundant discussions

Workshop discussions will be used to inform a project on innovative wastewater treatment systems in green communities in Bengaluru.

EAWAG, in partnership with CSEI-ATREE, has identified green gated communities in Bangalore as a “first entry market” for experimenting with innovative sanitation systems.

The Green Gates project is taking off amid conversations about flooding in Bengaluru and the discharge of sewage and sewage into the city’s storm drains and lakes, limiting their role as flood buffers. The project envisions large-scale wastewater treatment and reuse and the identification of potential secondary markets.

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