HYDERABAD: Hyderabad based ICRISAT (International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics) will lead an Indian consortium for a prestigious water recycling project to be used widely for agriculture across India and Europe, officials said.
The Indian consortium of science and research groups includes 22 institutes and is part of a bigger worldwide project involving research groups from the European Union, officials said.
The ‘water4crops’ Indo-European collaborative project is co-funded by the department of biotechnology, government of India and the European commission with a total funding of 12 million Euro.
While ICRISAT will lead the consortium in India, the European Union conglomerate consists of 21 partners lead by IRSA-CNR, department of Bari, Italy.
The project was launched on Tuesday at ICRISAT with a three-day meeting attended by the consortium members from both the sides deliberating on ‘Integrating bio-treated wastewater reuse with enhanced water use efficiency to support the green economy in EU and India’. “It is a noble initiative in which waste water will be recycled from domestic and industrial sources,” said William D Dar, director general, ICRISAT. “These efforts are to make it possible for treated water to improve agriculture industry. It will tackle water scarcity in rain-fed areas,” he added.
The geographic locations at which the project will begin in India include industrial and domestic sites in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra among others.
Antonio Lopez, director, CNRS, European Union Consortium said the mindset of people regarding waste water should change since it can be used for many things. “In Europe, treated water is even used for consumption” he said.
Throwing more light on this project, he said with this project, they will work towards obtaining products from waste water. “Apart from working on how to reuse waste water, efforts will be on to increase efficiency of waste water in agriculture. Work will be on how to modify crops for water use efficiency,” he said.
The project will be simultaneously tested for a period of two years in EU and India, and then it will be taken to the community in the next two years. The consortium members will work together in finding solutions, sharing knowledge and expertise and applying for the community usage.
Explaining its usage for the farmers and the rural community, Suhas P Wani, principal scientist at ICRISAT and scientific coordinator for the Indian consortium said that untreated water with chemicals are being used by the farmers.
“The panchayat is responsible for treating waste water but they are not doing it. If they adopt the model and treat drain water and supply to farmers it will help in generating income. This will also help farmers in using treated water without any chemicals for their crops,” he said.
He also said they would take up awareness programmes related to this project by involving farmers.