IA recently had an opportunity to speak with Mr. P K Sengupta, an expert Hydro-geologist about his life, work. He shares his views on the rampant wastage of water in the modern lifestyle and environment, and how technology, especially automation can help work on the loss. The government of India has plans on using automation technologies for waste water management, using devices that are currently making their way into the market.
- Please tell us something about yourself and your story as a water hydrologist
I have majored in geology and worked in a government department for 30 years as a hydro-geologist at different hierarchical capacities. During my service period, I was associated with several government projects related to groundwater exploration and extending technical assistance to minor irrigation schemes and industrial projects in West Bengal. After retirement in 2006 I became associated with some ecohydrology and water literacy projects under government of India. Along with that, I worked as a consultant for industrial water resource management and EIA study. Some of my hydrological projects include micro watershed development in Bankura and Purulia districts (a UNDP project), Wetland development projects in Nagaland, drinking water project in Nazirating, Assam, etc. I am a Quality Council of India (QCI) National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET) accredited functional area expert (category A) in the fields of Geology, Hydrology, and Groundwater. So far I have completed more than 35 industrial EIA projects. I have authored several books on water, a recent one being Industrial Water Resource Management which is now in press (John Wiley & Sons).
- What is the reason behind the indiscriminate use/wastage of water?
In my view, there are two reasons behind the indiscriminate use/wastage of water. They are
- Lack of people’s awareness
- Lack of literacy on water and strong water governance.
- What can be done about it?
It is necessary to:
- Educate people about water science from the school level.
- Educate water users (industry, municipality, agriculture sectors) on scientific usage, conservation of water, and recycling of waste water.
- Implement strong and transparent water governance at every level of the society.
- Build up strong political will and motivation.
- Are there some specific ways by which water resources may be monitored?
Water resources can be, and must be monitored. There are several specific ways such as:
- Stream flow monitoring
- Groundwater monitoring
- Ocean and sea monitoring
- Monitoring water levels of lakes and water body
- Monitoring of water uses in industrial and irrigation sector
- Monitoring discharge of industrial effluents into the environment
- Monitoring of quality of water of lakes, streams and groundwater
- How can people be trained?
People can be trained in the following three ways:
- At a fundamental level, i.e., at school and college level where water literacy can be a subject under the curriculum
- By running special mass awareness and capacity building campaigns and programs
- By providing specific training programs for stake holders
- Which states in India have a good potential for groundwater resources? Why?
West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have good groundwater potential. (http://www.wwfenvis.nic.in/Database/StatewiseGroun_4499.aspx)
- What role can industrial automation play in water resource management the times to come?
Industrial automation can play a big role in water resource management in industries. Automatic monitoring and control systems can be applied to industries to optimize water use and to regulate the quality and quantity of industrial affluent.
In India automation has already been introduced in water sector of industries. Most popular application is in water treatment plants to monitor waste water quality and volume of discharge. There are industries who have introduced automation of cooling tower blow down, and oxygen monitoring in sewage treatment plants. Some industries already have automated flow control systems. Large and small manufacturers are now manufacturing industrial automation devices. Department of Science and Technology, Government of India is also supporting research and development in industrial automation, which includes water conservation also.