RAL workshop promotes sharing, learning of GWM practices

To harvest learning from on-going practices and innovations in greywater management (GWM) on the ground and make it available to a wide range of practitioners for replication across different states and districts, a Rapid Action Learning (RAL) Workshop was held in New Delhi on May 26 and 27, 2022.

Organised by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Green Strategic Partnership and Sanitation Learning Hub, and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, in collaboration with the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti; the two-day workshop provided a platform to share and learn good practices and innovations in GWM.

The workshop also enabled States to make plans for implementation of GWM on scale with speed, quality and sustainability in the context of the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) and the Swachh Bharat Mission-Grameen (SBM-G)-Phase-II. 

Among those who spoke at the inaugural session were:  H.E. Freddy Svane, Ambassador, Royal Danish Embassy to India; Mr. Charles Rochford Callanan, Director, South Asia Hub, UNOPS; Ms. Divya Datt, Deputy Head, UNEP; Mr. Shombi Sharp, UN Resident Coordinator, India; Mr. Vinod Mishra, WASH Head, UNOPS, India; Mr. Samir Kumar, Joint Secretary, DDWS; and Mr. Manoj Sahoo, Director-JJM.

The event was attended by senior Government Officers from 27 states of India, practitioners and champions from NGOs, District Coordinators, Sarpanches, and as many as 15 sector/development partners and agencies working under the SBM-G and the JJM, who shared insights, innovations and successful good practices in Greywater management.

Greywater management is an integral component of SBM-G Phase II.  Greywater refers to domestic wastewater generated in households or domestic activities without faecal contamination. It includes waste water from kitchens, bathing and washing clothes but does not include black water from toilets.  If not handled properly, it can be a threat to sanitation and can become breeding points for mosquitoes and pollute the groundwater. 

To date, more than 6.37 crore tap water connections have been provided under the Jal Jeevan Mission since its launch in August 2019.  A total of 9.60 crore households in the country have access to water via taps.  In the present context, a lot of water will flow out of rural households. It is estimated that 31 billion litres of greywater are generated every day in India.  Hence, there is an urgent need to develop sustainable behaviour practices to conserve water.

Sessions that followed included panel discussions on:

  • Available technologies/appropriate technologies on GWM for rural areas – moderated by Shri Shrikant Navrekar from Nirmal Gram Nirman Kendra Govardhan.
  • Role/contribution of various development organisations – moderated by Shri V.K. Madhavan – CEO, WaterAid, India.
  • Government Policies/Strategies on GWM – moderated by Mr. Nicolas Osbert, WASH Chief, UNICEF
  • Group discussions on best practices from the field – State/District/Village level
  • Plenary session – sharing of innovation/good practices from the field
  • Capturing key learning and insights from the field on GWM

Innovative technologies:  Best practices/innovative technologies in Greywater Management were showcased at an exhibition at the workshop venue.  They included:

  • Absolute Vermi-Filter promoted by Grace Green Infra Pvt Ltd., showcased a chemical free process for treating wastewater which can also be operated using solar energy.
  • Insitu drain treatment technology, promoted by Fabetto Ecotech Pvt Ltd., that does not generate any sludge nor requires electricity/power.
  • JOHKASOU, promoted by M/s Daiki Axis India Pvt Ltd., uses the A-A-A (Anaerobic, Aerobic, Anaerobic) operational process that ensures continuous and simultaneous nitrification and denitrification
  • Soil Bio Technology (SBT) promoted by M/s Life Link Eco technologies which follows the sedimentation, infiltration and biodegradation processes.  It works with formulated geological environment wherein fundamental reactions of nature, namely respiration, photosynthesis and chemical mineral weathering are responsible for bioconversion of sewage.
  • GIS Based Monitoring of Greywater Projects promoted by ESRI India by which any asset built over land can be monitored by Geographical Information System from planning to execution.

All over the country, there have been mass movements targeting the goals of Phase II of SBM-G and JJM.  At various levels of implementation, new approaches, techniques and methods are being executed for sustainability.

However, upscaling and sharing of these approaches and methods would help in better implementation of grey water management in JJM and SBM-G Phase II with quality and sustainability.  This is where Rapid Action Learning (RAL) approach creates a platform to successfully share good as well as bad practices.

The process has been designed to encourage and enable government practitioners to identify their good practices, innovations and lessons learnt and share them in an open-ended manner, laterally and peer to peer, drawing practical lessons from each other across states.

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