World Water Day 2023- MoHUA Organizes Special Swachh Talks Webinar Series

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A webinar on the topic ‘Used Water Management in Small Cities’ was organized by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs On the occasion of World Water Day. The webinar on lines of this year’s theme- “Accelerating Change” highlighted the need for increased investment, innovation, and governance to ensure effective management of water resources. The Swachh Talks involved discussions around adoption of a circular economy approach by small towns in design and execution of used water management projects, showcasing best practices.

Indore, Surat, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), Tirupati, Chandigarh, Navi Mumbai, Vijayawada, Hyderabad, Greater Visakhapatnam, Karad, Panchgani, Bhopal, Baramati and Mysore – the commonality amongst these cities is they are Water+ certified. These 14 cities have been trailblazers in achieving the highest standards of sustainable sanitation and used water management. They have not only been able to collect and safely treat used water but have also been able to re-use water after secondary/ tertiary treatment.

The Union Budget 2023-24 lays emphasis on the Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (UIDF) for Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. It also highlights the commitment to realizing the goal of circular economy and focuses on Waste to Wealth while emphasizing on ‘Sustainable Cities for Tomorrow’.

In order to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to put the focus on sanitation, the Hon’ble Prime Minister had launched the Swachh Bharat Mission on 2nd October 2014. Over the past eight years, urban India has witnessed a radical change in the field of urban sanitation.

Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0, launched by the Prime Minister on 1st October, 2021 with the overall vision of creating ‘Garbage Free Cities’, introduced Used Water Management (UWM) as a newly funded component for towns with less than 1 lakh population. The Mission is committed towards improving the overall Used Water Management ecosystem in Urban India by ensuring that no un-treated used water is discharged into water bodies. In convergence with AMRUT & AMRUT 2.0 Mission, run by the Ministry, ambitious targets of setting up STPs and creating water treatment & recycling ecosystem in Cities is envisaged.

Further, the scope has widened to include management of sewage. MoHUA via the ODF++ protocol is assessing cities to ensure that entire sewage including faecal sludge & septage is safely managed and treated, with no open discharge /dumping of untreated entire sewage including faecal sludge & septage in water bodies or open areas. Additionally with the Water+ protocol cities are also assessed and certified on collection, transportation, treatment and reuse of both used water and faecal sludge to prevent environmental pollution. In the Ganga Towns, the implementation is being done in convergence with Namami Gange Mission under Ministry of Jal Shakti.

During financial year 2022-23, projects worth Rs. 11,784.81 Cr. for setting up STPs with a capacity of 4918.91 MLD till date, I&D network and desludging vehicles have already been approved for States under SBM 2.0.

The panelists included experts from various sectors such as ASCI, USAID, Municipal City officials, PHE officials, private players etc. Discussions also revolved around scaling up used water management projects at speed and with quality with a target to set up sewage facilities in all cities by 2026 with at least 50% of the Cities being Water +.