In urbanised areas like Pune expanding more rapidly than the water supply can keep pace and where water shortage in summer can continue into monsoon if there is not enough rain to replenish sources, an innovation at the College of Engineering, Pune (CoEP) looks like a promising solution. The idea is to recycle water at the source rather than send the bulk of it to overburden the sewage system.
The system at CoEP will save at least 60,000 litre of water a day, by turning water wasted to be fit for use in gardening and flushing. The system at the hostel of the autonomous engineering college is the joint effort of the Centre’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the European Commission under the NaWaTech project aimed at addressing water shortage in urban India. CoEP is the first educational campus in the country to install the system that operates without any power and uses gravity to filter water.
“Around 2,000 students stay at the hostel building and daily consumption of water there is around 1.5 lakh to two lakh litre. Almost all this water used to be wasted in absence of any effective processing mechanism. The latest water recycling solution, Natural Water Treatment Technologies (NaWaTech) will enable us to recycle water efficiently. Over 40 per cent of the water can be reused for gardening and flushing,” Bhalchandra Birajardar, professor, Applied Mechanics at CoEP told Newsline.
Elaborating on important eco-friendly features of the project, he said, “The hostel water recycling solution does not require any power. It simply operates on principle of gravity, scoring over conventional water recycling units. The water treated meets all prescribed norms of government agencies such as Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). The treated water is of such a good quality that it even can be used for drinking. But, we will be restricting its use to gardening and flushing.”
It employs a series of large underground tanks for treating used water and circulate it. Installed over an area of around 10,000 square-feet, the plant costs around Rs 1 crore.
“The water that cannot be reused will be discharged into sewage lines. It will reduce burden of treatment on PMC centralised systems much. It is proposed that in near future excess treated water will be reused for construction activities on campus and later for activities like dust suppression in college cricket grounds,” Birajardar said.
A project under European Commission’s seventh framework programme being funded by the DST. NaWaTech projects started in Pune and Nagpur initially. The CoEP hostel is the largest project site in Pune chosen for NaWaTech.