No More Watering Down the Issue

Updated: May 18 2003, 05:30am hrs
Acute shortage of clean and safe water has become a matter of concern all over the country, especially in Delhi. Overexploitation of groundwater has disturbed the hydrological balance leading to decline in productivity of wells, increasing cost of boring wells as well as electricity costs. Industry is not oblivious of it. Little wonder, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has a panel dedicated to the conservation of natural resources.

Says Vikram Bakshi, chairman, CII (Delhi State Council), We as an industry association are working towards conserving water and energy. The CII panel on conservation of energy aims at disseminating information besides taking care of the resources. Water is an area where a lot of wastage is taking place and we are trying our best to help the Delhi government in managing water resources better. If we dont manage our resources properly, it is going to cost us tremendously in the future. A little work in this area will go a long long way in making our lives better on a daily basis.

Quite a few corporates are working in this sphere. Says Niranjan Khatri, general manager, WelcomEnviron Initiatives, ITC Hotels Ltd, ITCs WelcomEnviron group focusses on all ecological issues like water, soil and air quality. Our focus has been more on water as it is a very fundamental resource and needs careful handling. Our water saving technology, which was introduced a couple of years back in the hotel chain, has reduced water consumption by 30-45 per cent which translates into saving Rs 1.30 crore per anum excluding energy cost.

Similarly, Radisson Hotel, Delhi, has a water harvesting system in place. Says Dinesh Bagga, chief engineer, Radisson Hotel, Delhi, We already have a water harvesting system in place and water which we consume is reused for the second and the third time after being treated. This has reduced our water consumption by 10 per cent. We survive only on borewells and not on Delhi Jal Board supply as it was not in place when we started our hotel.

Others too are following them. Says a senior official of Mother Diary Foods Processing Ltd, Mother Dairy has taken a number of initiatives from time to time as far as the environmental front is concerned. Our water harvesting system is already in use since the last one year. We have come to the conclusion that the water level has risen from 2 cm to 99 cm. Besides, we have taken up solid-waste management and are using solar heaters to heat water up to 66 degrees centigrade before it is sent to the boilers. This saves a lot of energy.

The initiatives have also prompted people to manufacture a new range of equipment to cater to this niche segment. According to Gian C Narang, chairman and managing director, Progressive Thermal Controls Pvt Ltd, a manufacturer of domestic water meters: There is no way we can conserve water if we dont have a proper metering system. It is a prerequisite before we go in for conservation. Now correct non- electronic meters are available, which are very sensitive.

Even the government agencies are chipping in. Says D Chakraborty, a scientist with Central Ground Water Board, We have initiated more than 100 odd water harvesting projects for different schools and organisations, besides the Presidents estate and the prime ministers office. Whosoever is approaching us is advised on the designs for the system.

Its high time more people approached them since experts are highly concerned about the water situation. Terming the water situation as grim, Delhi Jal Board CEO P K Tripathi adds the water table in the Capital is dropping at an alarming rate and a sense of urgency is required to ward off the impending crisis.

These issues were discussed at a recent seminar-on Water Conservation: Sustainable Solutions To Save Delhi From A Water Crisis, which was organised by the CII in association with Delhi Jal Board.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit said that her government plans to enact a law for regulating the use of groundwater and levy cess on a unit area system to check irrational use of the precious resource. The citizens would be charged according to the capacity to pay and the quality of utilities provided. There are certain areas which receive excess water whereas other get bare minimum. This flaw will also be rectified, She added.