Thinking ahead to secure future water supply in Asia

Asia acts

Water management challenges
As the world’s largest continent, Asia stretches over around 44.4 million km2, a third of the world’s land area. Two thirds of the world’s population live here, with access to only one third of the world’s water reserves.

Poor water management
Water scarcity in Asia and Australia alone affects a fourth of the world’s population and is triggered by lack of rainfall, over-usage, and poor water management. Many rivers, inshore waters and ground water have been heavily polluted. Water quality is at an alarmingly low level, posing serious risks for human health. As yet, only half of all households connected to a water supply are also connected to a sewage system.

But also climate Change
In addition to the existing problems of over-extraction, mismanagement and rising demand there is also the imminent threat of climate change. Its impact will initially be on surface water but groundwater supplies will eventually be affected too. The dramatic impacts in India and South-East Asia are expected to come from the melting of Himalayan glaciers. It is supposed to lead to huge variation in water supplies – with decades of swelling rivers and floods and others of severe drought.

Most of the large cities in Asia suffer under an inadequate water supply. With populations growing, prognoses suggest that water requirements will increase five-fold by 2045. Below we will look into the nature of the problems in Australia, India and China, but also what is being done to solve it.

Australia’s water problem
While Australia does have an unreliable rainfall and receives much of its rain in areas well away from urban and agricultural development, it is possible to manage the water supply system more effectively. Water scarcity has come about primarily due to wasteful practices.

The UN recommends that people need a minimum of 50 litres of water a day for drinking, washing, cooking and sanitation. The average urban Australian uses 300 litres of water daily. This equates to approximately 1.3 million litres per person, the third highest consumption rate in the world.

Australia’s solution
In Australia, one solution to the urgent water shortage problem has been desalination. By 2012, every state will have a desalination plant, supplying roughly 15% of urban Australia’s freshwater needs. Desalination plants will be located on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Port Stanvac South Australia, Wonthaggi Victoria, and Sydney NSW.

Desalination plants have successfully proven themselves to be environmentally and economically sustainable. However, they are unable to provide for all of Australia’s freshwater. Hence, other solutions are required.

Among these are rainwater harvesting. In Australia, rainwater harvesting has been widespread for years, and in parts of the country it is the only source of fresh water. The city of Melbourne has installed a 1 million litre underground tank to store water that will be used in a public park, and the city’s design guidelines encourage the installation of water harvesting systems on all new construction.

Water scarcity in Asia and Australia alone affects a fourth of the world’s population and is triggered by lack of rainfall, over-usage, and poor water management.

China’s water problem
A combination of pressures from rising water demand and limited supplies, combined with severe water pollution, makes it difficult for China to supply safe, clean water to its 1.3 billion residents.

At the same time, China suffers from an uneven spatial and temporal distribution of water resources: too much water in the “wrong” place and time. In the southeast, the annual precipitation declines much faster than the rest of China. Unfortunately, the distributions of China’s population and economy do not coincide with that of the water resources. In fact, the continuing economic growth trends and population increase, as well as growing industrialisation and urbanisation, are likely to worsen China’s water shortage.

China’s water solution
Some 40% of China’s population lives in the 11 coastal provinces that form 15% of the country’s land area. China plans to desalinate nearly 1 billion m? of seawater/year and directly utilise 100 billion m3/year by 2020, meeting 26?37% of the total water demand in the coastal cities.

Currently in China, rooftop rainwater harvesting is being practiced for providing drinking water, domestic water, water for livestock, water for small irrigation and a way to replenish ground water levels. Gansu province in China has the largest rooftop rainwater harvesting projects on-going.

China’s aim has been to increase its wastewater reclamation capacity by 6.8 million m3/day between 2006 and 2010 in an effort for northern Chinese cities to reuse 20% of municipal wastewater and southern cities to reuse 5-10%.

India’s water problem
In India, lack of proper regulation is one reason for water shortages. Anyone is free to shove a pipe in the ground and take the water they need. Without regulation, ground water resources run dry and small-scale farmers lose access to adequate water supplies. As a result, the 70% of Indians who make their living from agriculture will have nothing if it happens.

The Bundelkhand region in northern India is a typical example of what happens when the water runs dry. Today, the area has completely lost the ability to sustain small-scale agriculture and villagers have migrated to the cities, adding to existing urban problems and often their own poverty.

India’s solution
According to the Indian Desalination Organisation, there are more than 1,000 desalination plants of various capacities ranging from 20 - 10,000 m3/day. However, supplying desalinated water to a place such as Delhi, which is far from the sea, is not an option. Therefore, public and private organisations also look into other potentially effective solutions such as rainwater harvesting.
India has opened four Rain centres. These centres seek to spread water literacy among urban Indians. They portray the significance of rain in the Indian way of life, its influence on the customs, traditions, economy and politics of India. They define the role played by every Indian citizen in harvesting rainwater and using it to combat the menace of water scarcity. And as India receives only about 100 hours of rain a year, these 100 hours must be used efficiently to catch and store water for the remaining 8,660 hours.

Case: Rainwater harvesting

A key player in water reuse and harvesting
The City of Salisbury in Australia is one of the world’s leading local government authorities in terms of water conservation and rainwater harvesting. Grundfos Hydro booster systems are used to distribute storm-water reliably and energy-efficiently.

The Situation
The City of Salisbury harvests its storm-water from the Parafield Airport catchment and diverts it into capture basins and a reed bed lagoon. The reed beds biologically cleanse the water that would otherwise flow, full of pollutants, into the sea. Once cleansed, the storm-water is supplied directly to the wool processing company with any surplus supply injected into an underground aquifer for storage. When required, the cleansed water is extracted from the aquifer using submersible borehole pumps.

The development of more than six aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) projects within the Salisbury area has enabled more than 25 extraction bores to be equipped with Grundfos SP submersible pumps, to supply water to industrial customers and for irrigation of Council reserves and school ovals within the area.

However, due to residential, industrial and commercial development growth the scheme was recently extended to provide non-potable water to multiple users, including Mawson Lakes, an expanding housing development with a population of about 10,000 people.

The development’s growth is also being accompanied by an increase in infrastructure, businesses and community sporting and recreational facilities. Therefore, the expanded scheme would require reliable and proven pumping systems and be capable of growing as the need for water increased.

"This unique water harvesting system, using Grundfos pumps and controllers, will supply more than 1,500 mega litres of recycled storm-water to a wide range of users within the City of Salisbury."

The Grundfos Solution
The Council sought the advice of Grundfos dealer, Assett Mechanical Engineering – which had assisted with the initial water harvesting scheme. The expanded scheme required installation of Grundfos Hydro boosters systems and controllers, which could meet the demand at between 0-20 litres per second and 600 kpa to deliver recycled storm-water to the rapidly expanding customer base.

A reticulation network was later installed, enabling the new pump station to deliver recycled water to more than 20 Council reserves, 12 school ovals, and a range of industrial customers. The scheme also supplies recycled storm-water to the Mawson Lakes Recycled Water System, where it is mixed with treated wastewater in a wastewater treatment plant. The recycled water is then pumped into Mawson Lakes via a separate reticulation system and used to water gardens, wash cars and to flush toilets.

The Outcome
This unique water harvesting system, using Grundfos pumps and controllers, will supply more than 1,500 mega litres of recycled storm-water to a wide range of users within the City of Salisbury.

Pump data
* 25 x SP Submersible pumps
* 6 x Hydro 2000 Pro Booster System, with 4 x CR90-3, 22kW pumps
* Grundfos controllers and software

Case: Grundfos Australia

Grundfos Australia head office installs rainwater harvesting system
Grundfos Pumps Head Office, located in Regency Park, South Australia, has recently completed the installation of their new rainwater harvesting system. The system comprises of three 50,000 litre tanks that collect rainwater from 1,500 square metres of roof catchment area.

PHOTO: Part of the rainwater harvesting system at Grundfos Pumps Head office in Regency Park, South Australia

UV technology
The harvested water is disinfected using ultraviolet (UV) technology. A Grundfos High Line UV system was selected for the task. The High Line is a free standing system developed to handle flow rates up to 17 m3/hr, and features electronic intelligence (PLC) that integrates the control and monitoring features of the package.

No chemicals required
The germicidal properties of UV are unique in that it breaks down the genetic information contained in the DNA of microorganisms, preventing them from reproducing, which in turn makes the water safe for consumption. The main benefit of UV water disinfection is that no chemicals are used.

Massive water savings
Once treated, the water is pumped using a Grundfos Hydro MPC-E Dual Booster system to all toilets and hand basins on the premises, as well as to all pump test tanks. It is estimated that the system could save around 200,000 litres of water annually.

Grundfos’ Quality, Safety & Environment Coordinator, David Barber explained, “The process of installing this system has been a learning experience for each of us involved. We hope that in the future we will be able to implement additional water conservation initiatives, with the ultimate aim of reducing potable water use by 50 per cent.”

The good example
Grundfos Australia endorses sustainable water use and management through it’s product, by ensuring that they have respect for the environment especially in terms of water and energy conservation and through it’s partnerships with organisations such as Keep Australia Beautiful and GreenPlumbers. Having now taken an active role harvesting rainwater at the head office premises, the Grundfos Australia team hopes it can encourage customers, suppliers and employees to assess their water use.


"The process of installing this system has been a learning experience for each of us involved. We hope that in the future we will be able to implement additional water conservation initiatives, with the ultimate aim of reducing potable water use by 50 per cent."

David Barber, Quality, Safety & Environment Coordinator, Grundfos Australia

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