| |AUGUST 20209ulation growth-rate (1.9 percent per year), the population is expected to cross the 1.5 billion mark by 2050. Due to increasing population and all-round development in the country, the per capita average annual fresh-water availability has been reducing since 1951 from 5177 m3 to 1869 m3, in 2001 and 1588 m3, in 2010. It is ex-pected to further reduce to 1341 m3 in 2025 and 1140 m3 in 2050.BENEFITS OF WASTEWATER MANAGEMENTTreated wastewater yields several benefits beyond human and environ-mental health. The water treatment process does not only produce clean reusable wa-ter, but also has the potential to pro-duce various other benefits. It has the potential to reduce a country's waste production, to produce energy through methane harvesting, and the potential to produce natural fertilizer from the waste collected through the process.Secondly, the treated water has myriad applications, including agricul-tural irrigation, commercial landscap-ing, fire control systems, industrial cooling and processing, and sanitation. Therefore, treated and recycled waste-water has implications on food and energy security as well as climate change mitigation.CURRENT CHALLENGES IN WASTEWATER TREATMENTWith rapid expansion of cities and do-mestic water supply, quantity of gray/wastewater is increasing in the same proportion. As per CPHEEO estimates about 70-80 percent of total water sup-plied for domestic use gets generated as wastewater.There remain significant gaps in the treatment and management of wastewater in India. NITI Ayog point-ed out that around 70 percent of states treat less than half of their wastewa-ter. Apart from developing and es-tablishing adequate treatment infra-structure to improve these figures, there is also a need for a policy push in the sector to expand the scope for public-private partnerships. ยท Expensive proposition: One of the key challenges that hinders adoption of wastewater treatment is its cost. Setting up a sewage treatment plant (STP) isa capital-intensive endeavour. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) estimates that the conventional cost for an STP comes to Rs. 1 crore per million litres daily (MLD). This means that an STP with the capacity of treat-ing 100 MLD of sewage will require Rs. 100 crores to be set up. Sanjeev Sirsi
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