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The Indian economy, on the fulcrum of an increasing growth curve, is witnessing rapid infrastructure development with rising need for appropriate water supply and wastewater treatment at various levels.

Growing water requirements to satiate the processed water needs of major industrial sectors in India such as power, pharmaceuticals, food & beverages and chemicals are proving to be a challenge with the country’s dwindling water resources and rampant water quality issues. The water and wastewater treatment equipment market in India is valued at Rs45,000 million. The market has witnessed a CAGR of 10% in the last three years and expected to reach 14% levels within the next three to four years. The major constituents of this market are residential, commercial, industrial and municipal sectors.

Water treatment technologies such as demineralisation, clarification, filtration, disinfection and membranes and wastewater treatment technologies such as pre-treatment, primary, secondary and tertiary treatment and dewatering sludge are currently practiced in India. Zero discharge systems and wastewater recycling are expected to change the market complexion in the coming years.

But the dismal state of solid and liquid waste management in India at present is evident in the low and unplanned collection and treatment efficiencies. The low collection efficiencies are the result of several issues plaguing the nascent market such as lack of funds, lack of awareness, weak enforcement, and no stringent penalties on illegal dumping.

Over the last eight to 10 years, the Municipal Corporations across the country have taken the waste management seriously and have implemented various rehabilitation projects to strengthen and increase the capacity of the existing sewer lines, waste segregation, upgrading landfills, etc.

On the other hand, the unplanned infrastructure growth of the past has led to ill-managed water and wastewater, accumulating solid waste and air pollution. All these and many other factors call for better water management systems in the country.

Given the infrastructure investment of US$36.89 billion this fiscal, many domestic and multinational environmental services firms view the environment market comprising water and wastewater, air pollution control, point-of-use water treatment systems and waste management services as one of the high growth sectors in India.

Frost and Sullivan in a recent report has said that in order to ensure sustainable, integral, and inclusive growth rate, holistic developmental policies have to be framed and implemented.

As such, water delivery systems in India are in disrepair and privatisation of these systems is an instant remedy (projects to the tune of US$2 billion are operational).

Industry, especially on the Municipal space, is witnessing unprecedented participation/funding from international bodies to the tune of US$56 billion (goods and services) annually thus ensuring fiscal profligacy. Further, privatisation of state and federal outfits in three to five years may act as a positive measure. Residential and Commercial Point of Entry systems with some degree of technology content also find an increasing presence in the region of more than 400 companies who are more of local ‘make to order’ kind of companies.

The wastewater segment is likely to see linear to exponential growth registering double digit growth in excess of 14% both for industrial and municipal segments.

The environmental products’ market is likely to see a marked growth in revenue realisation due to more transient consumer mindset and stricter enforcement mandates.

Water Treatment Solutions

The water treatment solutions are conventional, membrane-based and UV-based or based on other cutting-edge technologies. They all deliver treated water suitable for diverse water utilisation purposes and industrial process requirements.

Wastewater recycling systems incorporating membrane solutions, sewage treatment plants, swimming pool disinfection solutions and other such systems complement these solutions.

The typical users which shall benefit from such treatment solutions are industrial establishments, residential and commercial buildings, IT parks, SEZs, retail outlets, shopping malls, manufacturing facilities, hotels, hospitals and a host of other projects.

The treatment processes can be classified as under:

Point of Entry Solutions

  • Water Clarification and filtration High Rate Solids Contact Clarifier, Clariflocculator, Lamella Clarifier
  • Disinfection Drinking Water and General Use Chlorination, Ozonation, UV Disinfection
  • Reverse Osmosis Solutions Brackish Water
  • Softening Solutions
  • Low and High Pressure Boiler Feed Water Solutions
  • Demineralisation
  • Reverse Osmosis, with Mixed Bed Polishing
  • Softening Solutions
  • Process Water
  • Ultra-filtration with Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra Pure Water
  • Wastewater Treatment Solutions

Sewage Recycling

  • Extended Aeration, with tertiary treatment
  • Fluidized Activated Bed, with tertiary treatment
  • Membrane Bio Reactors
  • Effluent Treatment & Recycling Solutions
  • Conventional
  • Membrane based
  • Zero Discharge Systems

Impact on Environment

Water and wastewater treatment solutions have had drastic impact on society and business. Whether people realize it or not, the way we conduct business and live our lives would be much different if it weren’t for the continually changing environment and societal needs.

As the world’s population grows and our standards of living improve so does our need to manage the water in our environment. We need to maximise its application for human well-being and minimise impact on the environment. Private sector along with the Government needs to provide sustainable, cost-effective and innovative water solutions, assist water utilities and others who provide water services to optimise infrastructure and adapt to environmental changes in ways that balance the needs of the communities.

We need to expand the boundaries by engaging in research, enhancing existing systems and strategies, evaluating new procedures and transferring technology from other industries into the water industry.

The end result of this initiative shall deliver significant projects, including zero discharge and self sufficient water management systems, including rainwater harvesting, all over the country. The industry also needs to tackle the water and wastewater challenges through Development Assistance projects, and membership with leading organisations.

The constituents of Water Industry do not operate in a vacuum but in a broader societal context. Indeed, it is increasingly recognised that our business is a part of the social fabric of the communities in which we operate and as corporate citizens, we share in the responsibility of the sustainability and wellbeing of these communities.

The private sector needs to exercise “business statesmanship” by being advocate for water sustainability in policy discussions, clearly presenting the role and responsibility of the private sector in supporting integrated water resource management.

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