We are living in water-stressed times. Approximately four billion people experience severe water scarcity at least one month per year. It is estimated that by 2030, 700 million people worldwide could be displaced due to intense water scarcity. The growing demand for water comes at a time when the potential for augmenting supply is limited, water tables are falling and water quality issues have increasingly come to the forefront. The current water paradigm in India and many developing countries, primary focuses on the supply side management and providing hardware solutions is unsustainable and non-feasible. This further aggravates the problem of inadequate municipal supply, ground water depletion and water pollution.

Moreover the current COVID19 pandemic demonstrates why water and sanitation — being an effective barrier against the virus — must be available, accessible and affordable to all. A lack of these can be a significant vector / pathway in the transmission of the virus, if proper hygiene is not followed. The need of the hour is to redesign the water and sanitation management by reducing water usage to reduce water wastage. Need is to treat wastewater to return manure to the land and clean water to our rivers.

A proposed alternative to the growing water crisis that is increasingly being considered is use of  wastewater as a resource. At present, 80% of wastewater worldwide is released untreated in the environment and in developing countries such as in India only 22% of sewage generated is treated. Research findings have explored the huge potential of wastewater and reusing and recycling of treated wastewater to augment freshwater sources and mitigate water stress. Moreover, policy frameworks all over the world also emphasize on the reuse and recycling of treated wastewater for local purpose. This calls for a paradigm shift from the current centralized approach to one which is sustainable in nature and emphasizes on the reuse and recycle of treated wastewater. 

One such sustainable approach is decentralized wastewater treatment as it addresses the problem of water pollution and scarcity. The approach is based on the important principle – devolving level of the application so that wastewater can be treated at affordable costs, cutting the cost of pumping long distances and promoting local reuse of treated wastewater. Decentralized wastewater management approach can play a vital role in today’s world, as it is more economically affordable and is an ecologically sustainable option that requires low maintenance. It provides an added advantage to meet the huge demand of non-potable water which does not require tertiary level of treatment, thus reducing the stress on water sources. The socio-economic situation and the context of urbanization highlight the need for decentralized wastewater solutions. In such circumstances, local reuse and recycling of treated wastewater too holds immense potential in terms of overall urban environmental sustainability.

To help students, working professionals and environmental enthusiasts learn state-of-art concepts and principles of improved urban water management at their own comfort.

Learning Objectives:

    • To understand the existing problems in wastewater management.
    • Understanding of the definition, concept and approach of decentralized wastewater treatment vis a vis centralized wastewater treatment and its intervention in urban areas.
    • Acquaintance to web based portal MOUNT – case studies showing different technologies and cost effectiveness. 
    • Understanding about the enabling frameworks and regulations applicable to decentralized wastewater treatment including reuse. 

The course will consist of the following modules:
Module I: Water and wastewater management: Understanding present complexities
Module II: Decentralized wastewater treatment: A paradigm shift
Module III: MOUNT: A Web based tool for Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Technologies
Module IV: Enabling environment for effective decentralized wastewater treatment including reuse 

Course Design:

The course comprises of self-study, technological learning tools such as presentations, videos featuring case studies from various countries and other audio material. It will facilitate interaction amongst participants through online forums and discussions. It will be interactive course with periodic assessment through group discussions, exercises and quizzes. Participants will also get a chance to interact and learn from experts at CSE and abroad through online interactions and a webinar.

Participants are expected to complete the course in a period of about four weeks with a workload of 24 hours. Participant is expected to spend about 6 hours per week on reading, discussion, interaction and assignments. At the end of the week and module, participants are expected to submit an assignment based on their learning. These assignments may have multiple choice questions, short answer type questions, quizzes, or essay type of question. Assessment will be done on the following criteria –

  1. Comprehensiveness of observations and problems identified
  2. Extent of critical engagement with course learning
  3. Depth and nuance in suggested interventions
  4. Ability to critique self-developed strategy 

At the end of the course, the participants would also get bonus points for being attentive, creative and responsive during the training programme.