Mumbai: The Maharashtra government is planning to make it mandatory for companies to adopt measures such as water recycling and rain water harvesting in a bid to address the severe drought that has been plaguing nearly one-third of the state.
“So far, we only had guidelines for the industry to take measures like recycling of water, rain water harvesting and adopting other water usage optimization techniques,” Maharashtra Industrial Development Corp. (MIDC) chief executive officer Bhushan Gagrani said in an interview on Tuesday. “However, this year’s drought has underlined the need for making it mandatory and MIDC will soon come out with the policy on this issue.”
MIDC is the state government’s industrial infrastructure agency.
Companies in the Aurangabad region are trying to cope with the conditions.
Touted as the capital of the Marathwada region, Aurangabad is home to brewery, distillery, auto and auto ancillary and pharma industries dependent on a single source of water—the Jaikwadi dam. According to state water resource ministry data, the dam just had 4% usable water left on 18 February.
Bajaj Auto Ltd has reduced water intake by almost half through conservation methods at its Walunj plant near Aurangabad.
“The auto industry uses water mostly in the paint shop, and by using some latest technologies, we have reduced our daily consumption of water from around 2.3 million litres per day (mld) to 1.2 mld,” said Kailash J. Zanzari, vice president, manufacturing, motorcycles. “We plan to reduce it further to 1 mld.”
Bajaj Auto is saving around Rs.70-80 lakh on water charges annually through an investment of around Rs.5 crore, Zanzari added.
Chennai-based pharmaceutical company Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Industry Ltd has adopted similar measures to reduce water consumption at its Aurangabad plant. The company did not respond to queries emailed to its spokesperson on Monday.
Sunil Raithatha, president of the Chamber of Marathwada Industries and Agriculture, said, “Industry in the Marathwada region is facing a water cut of around 30-40% because of which some units have cut down their production and some others are buying expensive water tankers and water supplied through tankers is 10 times costlier than water supplied by the MIDC.”
He added that the lobby group was working closely with MIDC to implement rain water harvesting schemes at MIDC’s industrial parks around Aurangabad.
“Many of our members are visiting Bajaj’s facility to study how these measures can be adopted in their units to avoid a similar situation in the future,” Raithata said.
Shally Seth Mohile contributed to the story