Circular Economy Approach to Women Empowerment Through Reusing Treated Rural Wastewater Using Constructed Wetlands
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Integrating environmental activity and economic development is one of the key milestones in the circular economy. There is an urgent need for developing countries like India to step path towards a circular economy for its sustainable development and environmental improvement. Water industry in India, there should move towards a circular economy model from the linear economy model. To functionalize circular economy through rural development, a new sustainable business model has been proposed in this study by employing natural treatment systems for wastewater treatment. Natural treatment systems especially constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment and reuse are the eco-friendliest technologies currently practised worldwide. In India, there is a lack of successful demonstrations in the field of wastewater treatment using constructed wetland and its gainful utilisation. In this present study, a successful circular economy model is demonstrated through the case study in Mhaswad Town which is located in District of Satara, State of Maharashtra and has a population of ~35,000. Wastewater generated (max 250 m3/d) from half Mhaswad population, i.e. ~14,000 is treated using horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetland which is “CW4Reuse” technology developed by IIT Bombay. The treatment plant consists of settling tank followed by nine beds of constructed wetland treatment units. Currently, the treatment plant is meeting the standards for treated water recommended by the pollution control board. The treatment plant is operated by women members of a cooperative society in Mhaswad. It is envisaged that the cooperative society will be trading the treated water for profit and thus they will be earning money through waste management. The model predicts net positive gain by treating wastewater through constructed wetland compared to conventional treatment method. This will facilitate rural development as well as women empowerment by implementing eco-centric treatment technology.
KeywordsWastewater treatment Water reuse Natural treatment systems Constructed wetlands Circular economy Rural development
Authors of this paper gratefully acknowledge the funding obtained from the two agencies for this research, namely: Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) and Rajiv Gandhi Science and Technology Commission (RGSTC).
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