India is the second most populated country in the world with over 1.3 +billion population. Although, the total water available( 1122 BCM) is sufficient to meet today’s estimated demand (Agriculture – 690 BCM, Industry – 73 BCM & Domestic- 49 BCM) at present, consumption of water across various sectors is on the increase due to urbanization, increase in population and rapid industrialization which will put India into a water stressed zone by 2025. The uneven distribution of water resources, have also created scarcity situations in many states like Rajasthan. Considering the ecological cost and direct investments required for any augmentation of surface water reservoirs, it is essential for us to look for ground-breaking solutions to the water stress. Agricultural sector needs to be made more efficient by drip irrigation and other methods; however agriculture being a un- organized sector with small land holdings makes it very difficult to implement the efficiency measures in this field effectively. Urban – Domestic Consumption of water is an area where large scale in-efficiencies exist. The Non Revenue Water (NRW) in urban towns is more than 50% and going as high as 70-75%. This wastage of treated water not only takes us into a negative cycle of lower collections, lower O&M and in-turn, the higher NRW, thus needs major attention. Arun Lakhani’s Chairman and Managing Director of Vishvaraj Pvt. Ltd saw this as a business opportunity.
One of the biggest challenges of high density urbanization is the generation of huge amounts of waste water. According to the estimates of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) about 80% of water supplied for domestic use is discharged as wastewater which enters untreated into the downstream water bodies polluting them. A mammoth 38,000 MLD of waste water is generated by Class I and Class II towns and this is expected to grow 3.5 times to 133, 000 MLD by 2050. Only 30% Class I (Over 1, 00,000 population) & 3.71% Class II (50, 000 + Population) of this waste water generated can be handled by current treatment capacity. Of this installed capacity too, only 55% is currently operational. The creation of fresh capacity to handle the balance India faces an investment gap of over USD 20 billion for Class I Class II towns by 2016 – 17. Now contrast this with the growth in the demand for fresh water estimated to escalate from 813 BCM to 1,447 BCM by 2050 with the available resources stagnated at 1, 122 BCM. Currently the industrial sector, which is one of the biggest consumers of water, is supplied fresh, treated potable water. They can easily use wastewater treated up the secondary level. Thi9s is not only frees up huge quantities of fresh potable water but also saves the downstream water bodies from pollution. VIL India created a model wherein they created a water value chain and Nagpur 24×7 is a good example of it.