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Centre Proposes Water Conservation Fee On Residential Complexes - Posted on: 2020-05-21

Soon, areas, where the total dissolved solids (TDS) in water are below 500 mg per litre, may have to stop using RO purifiers. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Ministry of environment to issue a notification within the next two months in this regard. The NGT has also directed the government to make water replenishment mandatory wherever RO is permitted in the country.

The NGT order comes after perusing an expert committee report which said that if TDS was less than 500 milligrams per litre, an RO system would not be useful and result in removing important minerals as well as cause undue wastage of water.

What is TDS.?

TDS is made of inorganic salts as well as small amounts of organic matter. According to a study by the World Health Organization, TDS levels below 300 mg per litre are considered to be excellent, 900 mg per litre poor and above 1200 mg unacceptable.

What is Reverse Osmosis (RO).?

Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a water treatment process that removes contaminants from water by using pressure to force molecules through a semipermeable membrane.

Centre Proposes Water Conservation Fee On Residential Complexes

Among the most common, and possibility the most dangerous, problems Indian cities face today are related to water. Considering the excessive exploitation of groundwater in metro cities and keeping in mind the need to prevent such activities, the environment ministry is planning to levy water conservation fee on industries, infrastructure projects, including residential and commercial complexes. It has already submitted an action plan in this regard to the National Green Tribunal (NGT). 

The ministry says that the money collected through the levy will be used for groundwater recharging projects as identified. Better clarity pertaining to the fee would emerge after the NGT approves the plan.

Action plan for next 50 years

The environment ministry has suggested 45 action points. Here are the key points:

By 2030

*Registration and mapping of all drilling agencies by 2023

*Putting in place a water security policy

*Launching online monitoring of groundwater quality

By 2040

*Implementation of mega recharge project

*Mapping of catchment and protection of springs

By 2050

*Establishing 2.5 lakh groundwater monitoring stations

*Starting storage of fresh water in saline aquifers

By 2060

*Finding fresh groundwater in offshore areas

*Assessment of submarine groundwater discharge to sea

By 2070

*Predicting possible drought situations, based on groundwater levels

Guide To Water Conservation

Rainwater harvesting is a simple and cost-effective solution that minimises the usage of fresh water for activities such as flushing toilets, gardening, washing floors, and cars. The rainwater harvesting system cost can be recovered in no time, given the advantages it has.

Rainwater harvesting methods

India, which has a tropical climate, witnesses heavy rainfall during the monsoon season. By utilising rain as a source, the cities can take control of the rapidly depleting ground water level. 

There are two types of rainwater harvesting systems that homes in India can install: 

  • Rooftop rainwater harvesting system: In this method, roof is used as a the catchment trough for collecting rainwater and this water is then transported through Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) gutters and down-pipes to storage tanks. The tank is placed in such a manner that it is easy to collect water from it in buckets (constructed about 18 inches above the ground and having a tap for easy access). A first-flush diverter is installed before the tank inlet to run-off the first rain spell, which has the most pollutants mixed in it.
  • Ground rainwater harvesting system: Also known as artificial recharge, this method is used to augment the groundwater reservoir at a speed faster than that of natural replenishment. Any facility that is used to add water to the aquifer is grouped under this head.

Quick Tips To Save Water
If you are living in an apartment complex, following any of these tips is sure to help you save water.

1. Individual metering is a fantastic way to for apartments to keep a track of individual apartment's water consumption. Billing based on this has been known to give savings of 8,000 gallons per unit, i.e. 15 per cent water saving.

2. Using recycled water is a definite way to cut down costs as well as make better use of resources. While treated water costs Rs 5-8 per kilolitre, the same quantity of fresh water costs approximately Rs 18.

3. Installing a grey-water treatment system can save up to a third of water usage of residential units by recycling used water that is not contaminated by faecal matter.