Indian region looks to build giant desalination plant

Aurangabad state government has requested a detailed project report from an Indian Institute of Technology professor who has proposed the construction of a 1,000 Ml/d desalination plant near Mumbai to overcome water scarcity in Marathwada according to newspaper The Times of India.

Assistant engineering professor, Ajay M Chole, has suggested Tarapur or Dahanu as possible sites for the facility. The processed water could, according to Chole, be transported by pipeline to the Godavari river to flow downstream into the Jayakwadi dam which supplies the region.

Chole had sent his proposal to the union and state governments and both had shown "keen interest" in the proposal the newspaper reported. Indian government under secretary, Kanwaljit Singh, has stated earlier that the Marathwada region was eligible for a desalination project under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme. Singh said Chole's desalination plant and transmission pipeline proposal may be taken up by the Maharashtra government under AMRUT. Marathwada has reported the highest rainfall deficit in the country last monsoon.

Officer on special duty in the state water resources department, Sandeep Jadhav, was reported as saying: "We have asked Chole to submit a detailed project report to work out the feasibility of setting up the desalination plant".

"The desalination plant would need an investment of around Rs 5,000 crore, (US$ 756.5 million)" according to Jadhav. He also estimated that the running cost would be around Rs 28 (42 cents) per 1,000 litre. "This project can possibly rid Marathwada of its dependence on rainwater," he said.

He said the project cost would be justified considering the recurring expenses over the past three years towards drought-relief and farmer packages. "There should be no issues with regard to generation of funds for this proposed project. Moreover, the project would facilitate employment generation, Chole added.

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