Punjab to forge strategic partnership with Israel for better water management: Jimpa

North India One

Embassy of Israel to collaborate in addressing water & wastewater challenges in Punjab

Punjab to develop 500 smart villages with 24×7 water supply

Chandigarh, June 2

          Punjab Water Supply and Sanitation Minister Mr. Bram Shanker Jimpa on Wednesday said that the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann led Punjab government would forge strategic partnership with Israel for developing a better water management system in the state. He said that the Punjab Government would work on making effective use of Israeli technology and indigenous innovations to develop a cost effective and sustainable water supply and sewerage infrastructure in the state.

          while speaking at the Roundtable with Dr. Lior Asaf, Water Attache, Embassy of Israel, Mr. Neeraj Gahlwat, Senior Water Resources Specialists, International Development Cooperation (MASHAV), Embassy of Israel, and Dr. Amit Dhir, Professor, Thapar University here at Punjab Bhawan, Mr. Bram Shanker Jimpa appreciated the role played by Israel in supporting India in addressing water & wastewater challenges. He said that the Punjab Government has been very concerned with the depleting groundwater levels in the state and efforts are being made to improve the water quality of Chappars (ponds) in the rural areas. He said that the ground water availability in the villages has significantly gone down during the last 35-40 years.

          Accentuating rainwater harvesting as one of the important aspects of groundwater recharge, the Minister said that the Punjab Government has made it mandatory for all buildings in the State. He also shared his experience of visiting the wastewater treatment plants in Hoshiarpur, where wastewater is being reused for agricultural purposes.

          Extending full support to the State of Punjab in adopting new technologies, Dr. Lior Asaf, Water Attaché, Embassy of Israel in India mentioned that in the Israel’s water sources almost half came from desalinated, recycled and recharged water, whereas till 1980s the country was dependent on the use of natural water only.  “Israel has developed technologies that enable reuse of 90% of treated wastewater. Every STP in Israel is developed close to agricultural lands and is connected to irrigation”, he added.

          Presenting the case studies of IoT solutions developed by Israel, Dr Lior said, “Solutions required in India are similar to the solutions developed by Israel. Community engagement, capacity building of stakeholders, private sector participation plays key role in successfully addressing challenges around water quality, sanitation & groundwater recharge”.

          Speaking on the occasion, Mr. D K Tiwari, Principal Secretary, Water Supply and Sanitation department invited ideas from Israel for low-cost technological solutions in treatment & reuse of wastewater. He shared, “Government of Punjab is developing climate resilient rural water supply schemes by switching to surface water supply. It aims to develop 500 smart villages with 24×7 water supply, sanitation facilities using IoT based infrastructure with an estimated cost of Rs 4,500 crores. The department is also undertaking management of wastewater and solid waste by setting up block level plastic waste management units and material recovery facilities, model bio-gas plants, faucal sludge treatment plants, etc with an estimated cost of Rs 1, 300 crores”.

          Mohd. Ishfaq, Special Secretary, DWSS Punjab discussed the strategies used by Israel in operation & management and asset management of the treatment plants. He sought support from Embassy of Israel in water quality improvement under the Indo-Israel Cooperation programme. Meanwhile, Dr. Amit Dhir gave a PowerPoint presentation on the ‘Holistic decentralized model for the reuse of treated wastewater for agriculture at the community scale’.  

          It was proposed to sign an MoU between Government of Punjab and Embassy of Israel in India to take forward the collaboration in the water & wastewater sector. Dr Lior also mentioned about the ongoing Indo-Israel Collaboration and its various benefits in water sector and possible MOU with the Punjab Government. KPMG was requested to support in the initiative. Visits to R&D centres supported by Embassy of Israel were also proposed for capacity building of the officials of the department.