DNA | Last Modified - Jul 17, 2011, 03:50 AM IST
Ahmedabad: Of the total water available on the planet 96 per cent is salty, 3per cent is frozen and a mere 1per cent is potable.
Desalination of salty water is an option to increase availability of drinking water but the process is expensive, which renders this method impractical. This was divulged by speakers at the seminar 'Water Seminar & 4th Gujarat Water Summit: Partnership for Sustainable Water Management' organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Saturday.
Delivering the keynote address in the seminar, HK Dash, principal secretary of Narmada Water Resources, Water Supply & Kalpasar Department, Government of Gujarat said that in a recently commenced pilot project in Kutch, the cost of making desalinated water stood at Rs 42 per 1,000 litre. "This is expensive compared to making Narmada water available in Kutch district, the price for which stands at Rs 36 per 1,000 litres," said Dash, who added that 50 million litres of desalinised water per day is supplied to Kutch via the public-private partnership model created in association with Adani Group and Welspun Group. "The cost of transferring water from Narmada dam to Kutch district is cheaper than supply of desalinated water in the district. At this seminar, we will discuss as to how to bring down the costs," he added.
According to experts at the seminar, India is set to face severe water shortage in 2050, as demand is likely exceed supply. Recycling of used water and desalination of the sea water can be the only solution, provided the cost factor involved in the process is brought down significantly.
According to Dash, it is a big challenge for the state government to reduce production and processing cost of desalination water in Kutch.
"The capacity is expected to increase to 150 million litres per day very soon. As per MoUs signed in Vibrant Gujarat, in next three to five years, we are expecting to have total capacity of supplying more than 300 million litres per day of desalinised water in the state," said Dash.
He further said that Gujarat has brought in many radical changes in water management arena and a number of Indian states have shown interest in replicating the model developed by the state. Expressing similar views, Dr Jaipal Singh, Additional Secretary (Plan) of Narmada Water Resources said, "Around 28% households in the state do not have water connections. Key areas such as recycling of waste water & desalination of sea water are largely untapped. Gujarat Government has initiated some projects meant for recycling in urban areas."
Outlining major objectives of the summit, DJ Yadav, chairman of CII Gujarat Environment Panel and also CEO - Arvind Accel Ltd said, "Water management is a real problem. In this edition of the summit, we will focus on finding out solution to this problem. Since 80% of the total water consumed is used for agricultural purposes, we need to increase efficiency apart from promoting use of recycled water."
Susnato Sen, Practice Head (Infrastructure) - Tata Strategic Management Group added, "Only 1% of all water in the world is in usable form. This comes with a disparity of water resources in various geographies across the world. In Gujarat too, disparity of resources is quite evident. As a result, overexploitation of ground water in regions like North Gujarat, Saurashtra & Kutch has become a major problem."