Developing a framework for reuse, recycle and zero liquid discharge of wastewater in India

Discharge of industrial wastewater poses severe challenges particularly in landlocked areas. Serious negative environmental impacts are visible, for example, at the holy river Ganga, where around 501 million litres of industrial wastewater are discharged into the river every day. As the rejuvenation of rivers and remediation of polluted areas is complex, costly and time consuming, the Indian government has set the focus on the abatement of industrial wastewater pollution. To facilitate recycling and reusing of industrial wastewater and achieving Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) amongst industries and institutions, there has to be an adequate legal framework, consisting of guidelines, standards and legal provisions.

In light of this, adelphi supported GIZ in the second phase of the Sustainable and Environment-friendly Industrial Production (SEIP) program that aimed to strengthen the strategic and operational governance structures of the Indian Government to effectively combat water pollution from industrial wastewater. The program produced following main outputs:

  • Stronger legal framework
  • Improved organizational procedures and processes
  • Stronger incentive mechanisms
  • Guidelines/e-portals/reference documents
  • Resource efficiency (RE) and sustainable consumption & production (SCP)

The second phase is a continuation of the activities of the first phase, in which adelphi also participated.

In close cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change of the Indian government, adelphi assisted the Central Pollution Control Board in developing a framework of guidelines, standards and recommendations on regulatory requirements. Since the ZLD approach in particular has been controversial in the past, it was particularly important to work closely with relevant local stakeholders. Thus, based on numerous bilateral meetings and workshops, the adelphi team performed a gap analysis and needs assessment, taking into account national and international best practices. The final project results and a series of training sessions will guide and assist selected government agencies in preparing and adopting documents to introduce recycling, reuse and ZLD approaches for selected sectors.