Home / News / India /  How treated wastewater could mitigate rising real estate construction costs

When covid-19 pandemic struck, India's real estate sector was experiencing a prolonged slowdown. The construction sector consumes large quantities of freshwater. The construction technology in India required a lot of water and that too at the construction site.  Several activities go on at construction sites that make use of water - mixing of concrete, wetting of dry surfaces, washing of equipment etc.

Experts say that the need of the hour is to introspect the technology, to make it less dependence of water.

According to Nitin Agarwal, Principal Architect at the Studio Synergy, the water used during construction is predominantly the ground water. The authorities have as such banned using ground water for construction, and provide treated water through STPs, setup by them. But since it is not an economical option at present, the owners and builders do not prefer it.

“There should be an initiative to bring down the cost of this treated water, by setting up the waste water treatment plants near the vicinity of the mass constitution areas, to bring down the transportation cost," said Nitin Agarwal.

He also suggested ways to explore recycling the water during construction. “There is a substantial amount of water which goes wasted during the curing process. That water should be recollected at places and re used through easy treatment methods. Therefore recycling and using treated waste water can save construction cost and can make the process more sustainable," he said.

“The treated wastewater (TWW) produced can be used instead of the millions of gallons of fresh water typically used in pavement construction. TWW can be used in place of fresh water in base course layers in the construction industry," said Gurmit Singh Arora, president, Indian Plumbing Association.

According to Nidhi Aggarwal, Founder at Spacemantra, homes will get more expensive as construction costs rise by an additional 8-9% by December 2022, and if the cost increases continue, they may be forced to pass on elevated operating costs to end customer. The potential scenario offers no hope, with water requirement expected to surpass supply by 50% by 2030. 

“Freshwater is used extensively in the construction industry. At the same time, a potentially useful source of water, wastewater, is underutilised. It is possible to aim for the more monetarily feasible choice of treated wastewater. This also has vast potential for preserving freshwater as cities deal with rising demand," said Nidhi Aggarwal.

According to Ashwinder R Singh, CEO Residential, Bhartiya Urban going by the thumb rule, 50 litres of water is required for construction of 1 sqft in an urban setting

While there are new tools on project management and 3D printing evolving, there are still simpler aspects of reducing construction costs, one of them is usage of treated wastewater, he added.

Karnataka government in 2019 have put a mandate for developers to use only treated waste water for all type of construction activities, which is the right direction in the policy framework.


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