Treatment of wastewater for recharging ground aquifers and using it for vermicomposting and fish farms in Andhra Pradesh

Original Query: K.A.S. Mani, APFAGMS, Hyderabad
Posted: 24 February 2006

I am Dr K A S Mani, working with Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems (APFAMGS) Project which is a network of over 650 villages working towards enabling the farmers to manage their groundwater systems in about 638 villages in seven drought prone districts of Andhra Pradesh. The development objective of the project is that farmers in Andhra Pradesh manage their groundwater systems based on annual recharge-draft conditions. Main activities include participatory hydrological monitoring, artificial recharge and sustainable agriculture inputs, capacity building and institutional development.

One of the areas being explored by the communities is better management and treatment of waste water, so that it could be re-used for agricultural and other purposes.

It is a fact that 80% of all the water used for domestic needs, comes back as sewage water. Handling of sewage water is slowly emerging as a big issue in small towns, and even in villages, which have no adequate drainage facilities. Again wherever the untreated waste water goes it creates a trail of polluted streams contaminating source of good water as well. Apart from creating health and nuisance we also lose precious and scarce water that could be otherwise put to re-use in water scarce areas.

I will like to know from the members simple and cost effective experiences in the following, which would be useful to communities living in villages or small towns:-

  • Various ways and means of treatment of domestic sewage involving the community using constructed wet land followed by recharge of ground aquifers with the treated water.
  • Any experience wherein sewage water treatment could be turned into an economical proposition as well, by commercially exploiting the bye products of treatment such as vermicompost, sludge, establishing nurseries, fish farms as well as selling the recovered water for secondary use.

Please see attachment below for the responses.