WD News: Water Digest, in collaboration with Kritsnam Technologies Pvt. Ltd., organised the fifth edition of its online Water Dialogue Series on March 3, 2023, to highlight and discuss the need for smart and sustainable groundwater management in industrial, commercial and agricultural sectors.
The focus state of this edition was Odisha.
The idea of this series is to make every person value the role of sustainable groundwater in our natural hydrological cycle because, groundwater is the soul of our Earth.
The series aims to cover significant areas like groundwater extraction regulations for industries, infrastructure and mining projects, challenges faced by groundwater users in taking NOC and fulfilling the criteria, adoption of new guidelines on groundwater, framing regulations applicable to specific states, need for conducting water audits and compliance, smart technologies for users & regulators for sustainable usage of groundwater, improving, monitoring and data evaluation, and what more to expect in future in terms of regulations.
Shri PK Mohapatra, Regional Director, Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, in his keynote address, spoke about the challenges in groundwater governance in India and the role of Central Ground Water Authority in this regard. He said that over-exploitation, contamination and climate change are threatening the sustainability of groundwater resources.
He said the government regularly monitors the groundwater levels and quality through its network of monitoring wells, and data collected is used to assess the status of groundwater resources and to formulate management strategies. He remarked that the primary responsibility of the industries is water conservation by taking measures such as reuse & recycle, and state-of-the-art technology to minimise its use of water, specially groundwater.
He talked about NOC guidelines in detail, and the imminent need for the industries to follow self-compliance as well.
This was followed by a Technical Session on Groundwater Governance in India: Role of Government & Industry (Focus State: Odisha).
Shri Prasanta K Mohapatra, Engineer-in-Chief, Odisha Water Supply & Sewerage Board, shared experiences from a project in Puri, Odisha, related to water quality monitoring.
He shared the status of migrating to surface water system for water supply and said that a surface water reservoir has been constructed alongwith a water treatment plant. This has made Puri the first city in the country to have 24×7 continuous water supply with ‘drink-from-tap quality’ water.
He said that from the groundwater governance and protection of view, many steps have been taken by the state government though various projects and studies.
Shri (Er.) Krushna Chandra Mohanty, CE & Director, Ground Water Development, BBSR, Water Resources Department, Odisha, said that the groundwater regulations are currently under review and once they are approved, the Odisha state groundwater authority will be formed and that will have the statutory power to frame all the rules pertaining to groundwater.
He informed the attendees that in Odisha, Central Ground Water Board, SE Region, Bhubaneshwar jointly with GWD, Odisha has conducted Ground Water Resource Assessment 2022 for the state of Odisha taking block as an assessment unit. The findings indicate a positive inclination towards management of groundwater. It says that though the stage of extraction in every sector has increased marginally, the overall recharge in groundwater has increased substantially.
He highlighted the initiative of the state government in which participatory approach for groundwater recharge is being adopted as the state has launched different schemes for rooftop rainwater harvesting systems, construction of groundwater recharge shafts along the existing tanks and ponds. He shared a comparative analysis to show that inspite of more extraction, the extractable groundwater resource has increased gently possibly due to several groundwater recharge measures adopted by different departments working in water sector since 2017. He also spoke about the role of industries in groundwater governance from the Odisha perspective and stressed on minimising groundwater use by recycling wastewater and reuse, practicing effluent treatment, and adopting water conservation practices.
Shri Vinay Chataraju, Co-Founder, Kritsnam Technologies shared the technology perspective and how it can play a significant role in the groundwater management and gave examples to elaborate his point. He then presented his thoughts with an analytical review of current scenario and future roadmap on the theme of groundwater governance. He focussed on the issue of groundwater depletion in detail. Supporting his views, he said that as per a FICCI report, 83% industries have reported major risk of inadequate availability of water whereas 62% Indian businesses depend on groundwater source.
He highlighted that India needs data-driven water management. Going ahead, he shared the important steps to be taken in this direction. The first step, he said, is to know your water footprint from all sources, the second is internal water budgeting, third is benchmarking with peers (water intensity ratio). He proceeded to explain the features and benefits and groundwater data collection instruments like Piezometer/DWLR (used to monitor depth of water level from the ground surface) and Digital Flow Meters (used to monitor quantum of water abstracted).
He gave a detailed overview of Dhaara Smart Ultrasonic Flow Meters and shared its mobile and web applications for easy data access, which can be used for industrial metering and industrial water monitoring.
Shri Dharmendra Sahu, Managing Director, Globe GIS Solutions Inc, shared the concerns of industries who have already applied for the NOC for groundwater extraction or who fall in the category for which an NOC is required, but there is a lack of awareness.
He requested senior officials in the panel to issue a letter to such industries so that they could also apply in time and follow the necessary guidelines and take appropriate measures in this regard.
Ms Anupama Madhok Sud, Director & Editor, Water Digest, moderated the event. The participants shared their queries in a Question & Answer (Q&A) Session after the technical session, which were answered by the panellists.
The queries ranged from capital cost of 1-inch ultrasonic flowmeter and operational cost of flowmeter mobile application; use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in creating groundwater models; the water budgeting and technological solutions being mandated by the groundwater board; use of saline water for various processes, and number of NOC applications and approvals given in the state of Odisha, etc.
The panel of speakers responded to all the queries and shared their expert views on the subject.
Click here to watch the complete session.