The Indian Railways aims to cut down its water bill and save up to Rs.400 crore annually with a roadmap for buying recycled water from private players.
With the dual aim of conserving the precious resource and reducing its consumption, the Railways will unveil its water policy, a first for the national transporter, for extensive use of treated water from water treatment plants for non-drinking purposes.
The Indian Railways Water Policy, expected to be rolled out on March 22 (World Water Day), will spell out the way forward for all the railway zones including colonies, hospitals, factories, workshops and training centres to achieve the goal of reduced consumption and increased use of recycled water.
Currently, the Railways buys water from the states and its water bill is about Rs 4,000 crore a year.
"The water policy envisages buying treated water from water treatment plants for two paise per litre, while we now purchase water for seven paise per litre," said a senior Railway Ministry official.
The policy has drawn out a detailed framework for setting up water treatment plants with private participation to generate an adequate amount of treated water for non-potable purposes.
The private players will be encouraged to set up these plants and the Railways will ensure the purchase of treated water from these units, said the official.
The water policy also envisages the revival of all the defunct water bodies on railway land across the country, various ways of recharging groundwater, including rainwater harvesting in all railway buildings.
A concrete action plan for water management, water-efficient fittings and regular water auditing is a part of the new water policy of the Railways.
The official said the water policy is part of the commitment India has made to the UN under the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to reduce water consumption and the Railways has assumed a pro-active role in it.
As a signatory to the United Nations Framework for Climate Change (UNFCC), India is committed to reducing water consumption by 20 per cent by 2030.