Taking serious note of the acute water scarcity and drought conditions that prevailed in Marathwada region earlier this year, the Maharashtra Water Resources Department is working on a policy under which waste water will be recycled and given to industries for use.
"The plan envisages construction of sewage treatment plants in major civic bodies across the state. The treated waste water will be recycled and supplied to the industries, so that potable water can be provided to common people only for the purpose of drinking and domestic consumption," a Water Resources department official said.
According to the official, even in big cities like Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, around 80 per cent of the waste water is not recycled and released back into the water bodies.
The plan came up for discussion at yesterday's meeting of the state cabinet, where Minister for Finance Sudhir Mungantiwar called for a foolproof plan in this regard.
"This proposed plan is linked to departments of Industries, Urban Development, Energy, Agriculture, among others and hence the proposal has been held back to seek a wider consensus and a foolproof policy," he said.
Besides the Industries department, the thermal and hydel power plants also need water and hence a wider consultation was needed on the issue.
"All the departments have been asked to come up with inputs within a month, after which a broader policy on recycling of waste water can be formulated," he said.
Meanwhile, Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan said that departments of Urban Development and Industries have been directed to submit a detailed cabinet note before the state cabinet in a month's time.
He admitted that most of the civic bodies and industries in the state release most of the waste water directly into the water bodies like rivers.
"This is leading to pollution of the water bodies and also harms aquatic animals like fish, as well as mangroves, plants and leading to contamination of the water table in wells and borewells," Mahajan said.
Thanking the rain gods, Mahajan said, "We in India, are lucky to get annual average rain of 4,000 mm. If a country like Israel, which receives only 200-300 mm rain, can fulfil its needs and above all supplies water to the nearby Palestine and Jordan, we should learn from them."
According to the official, although initially the policy will not compel all the municipal corporations to set up sewage treatment plants, in the next five years they will have to go for it.