The cement industry is not water intensive, but we need to increase awareness - especially in the summer, as a few plants have been facing shortage of water. Through this article, we attempt to sensitise the readers on the subject.
As an oft taken for granted resource, problems related to water shortage are only taken a look at when we encounter adversities. Through our conversation with Bhaskar Bhattar, we received many previously unknown insights like how the agricultural sector consumes the highest percentage of water, and minor efforts in proper selection of crops can help reduce this percentage. Here, companies like Jain Irrigation are doing excellent work through promotion of drip irrigation.
As Bhaskar explains, we need to understand the concept of ´water positive´; wherein if an establishment uses ´X´ quantity of raw water (from available sources like rivers or municipal supply) for either per day or per month and shows that it is reusing treated waste water of ´A´ quantity and recharging rainwater of ´B´ quantity, and if these two (A+B) are more than ´X´, then the establishment is called water positive. The focal point of being water positive is using water efficiently and reducing water consumption at regular intervals, focusing on water conservation and recycling. Making rainwater harvesting mandatory for all citizens is the need of the hour. In this, the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are setting good examples of rain water harvesting.
Talking about water recycling, Bhattar explains that the process revolves around reusing treated waste water for beneficial purposes such as agricultural irrigation, industrial processes, toilet flushing, and replenishing a ground water basin. Use of recycled water in gardens and toilets should be made compulsory. Recycling of water directly saves this natural resource and is very beneficial as polluted water can be reused and fresh water is saved for future use, promoting environmental sustainability.
We have also referred, in present issue, to the water KPIs agreement in 2015, which was formalised and confirmed by Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) member companies. The said document is available with CSI.
The Protocol for Water Reporting for the Cement Industry published in 2014 specified what should be recorded as part of sustainable water management in the cement sector. With the help of step-wise instructions, diagrams and formula, the document offers practical advice on how reporting requirements can be met, what equipment is required and how devices can be installed and maintained to ensure accurate measurements. The aim is to improve the accuracy of water accounting by companies. The recommendations featured cover cement, aggregates and RMC operations.