Bracing for a dry season, the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) is planning to push builders, organisations with large gardens and farmers to purchase treated waste water from the civic body in order to reduce stress on fresh water sources.
Earlier in the week, Rajkot Mayor Bina Acharya held meetings with builders, prospective clients and farmers for the same. “Rajkot is located in a water-scarce area. Availability of irrigation water has remained low in recent years due to deficient rainfall. We want farmers to use treated water to irrigate their crops. Builders can also use it,” Acharya told The Indian Express.
On Wednesday, Acharya along with RMC Commissioner Banchhanidhi Pani visited a sewage treatment plant (STP) in Gavaridad village where they met around 30 farmers from the Anandpar village. The mayor and the commissioner then explained the process of waste water treatment to the farmers and explained how it can be supplied to them.
The Gavaridad STP was set up at a cost of Rs 43 crore. With a capacity to treat 70 million liters per day (MLD) of city sewage, water from this STP is discharged into the Aji-II dam at present.
Despite a minor irrigation scheme, the Anandapar dam, as groundwater sources have run dry, farmers have been forced to lift water from the Aji-II dam.
Meanwhile, water from the STP can flow directly to Anandpar dam through gravity.
“Farmers here lift water from Aji river. But the water level in Aji-II dam has also dropped. We had approached Rajkot MP Mohan Kundariya for the same. He suggested that we can get water from this STP,” said Ajit Vadher, a farmer from Anandapar village.
Pani, who is also the chairman of Rajkot Urban Development Authority (RUDA), assured the farmers of providing funds to lay a pipeline to the village from the STP.
The RMC has set Rs 18,634 per hectare per year as the price of water for farmers in case of irrigation through gravitational flow and Rs 6,211 per hectare per year for lift irrigation.
As the Anandapar farmers can get water through gravity flow, they are willing to pay the amount.
RMC distributes around 200 MLD water in the city for drinking purpose. The civic body sources the bulk of its water from Narmada dam through a network of canals and pipelines. The civic body has to pay Rs 6,000 per million liter of Narmada water.
The municipal commissioner and officers of the RMC drainage department also held meetings with the representatives of Rajkot Builders Association (RBA) and others on Monday and Tuesday.
“If we use treated waste water for construction, it will reduce our dependence on groundwater sources and fresh water can be saved for drinking purposes,” RBA president Paresh Gajera said.
The civic body is also eyeing universities in the city and the RMC offices as prospective clients for the treated water. As per officials, water for non-irrigation purposes will be provided at Rs 14.30 per 1000 litres.