India's focus should be on wastewater recycling and clean rivers
Toshiba Water Solutions Private Limited (TWS) is an international multi-disciplinary environmental services company, headquartered in India that specializes in providing turnkey services in water and wastewater collection, treatment and disposal. A wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba Infrastructure Systems & Solutions Corporation (TISS), TWS provides complete, single-source services from engineering and design to construction and installation of water, wastewater and domestic waste treatment facilities. Here in an interview, Chairperson and Managing Director of TWS, Mr Koichi Matsui mentions of staying committed to the mission of Clean India – FOR THE NEXT INDIA.
It has been quite a while that Toshiba acquired UEM. How has this acquisition fared for TWS so far?
Toshiba is Japan’s leading manufacturer of electrical system for water supply and sewerage facilities for over 40 years, and has expanded the business into overseas markets. To develop wastewater infrastructure for the rapidly industrialising economy and increasing population, Toshiba entered India through minority acquisition in UEM in 2014.
In 2015, UEM became a ‘Toshiba Group Company’, which enabled Toshiba to bring in its advanced water treatment technology and project management skills, along with synergies with other business. This strategic acquisition opened doors to new geographies and business segments for the company that helped in spearheading the company’s growth as a global leader in the area of water and wastewater management. The acquisition resulted in prestigious orders from distinguished clients in India as well as abroad.
Toshiba acquired 100 percent stake in UEM in March 2018 and rechristened its wholly-owned subsidiary as Toshiba Water Solutions (TWS) in 2019. With the formal adoption of Toshiba name, the company had access to wider customer base in India and overseas, while reiterating the Japanese quality and commitment. Building on Toshiba’s global experience, TWS designed advanced technologies and solutions to ensure their long-term sustainability for water management projects across the world.
Headquartered in India, TWS has established 6 international offices in India, Oman, Philippines, USA, Georgia and Trinidad & Tobago. Today, TWS enjoys a proven track record of executing over 450 projects in 35 countries. Toshiba Water Solutions will continue to provide turn-key services in water and wastewater management, staying committed to the mission of Clean India – FOR THE NEXT INDIA.
Toshiba recognizes India as strategic hub for its social infrastructure business including water treatment. What are the key focus areas to expand its business?
TWS is focusing on three major verticals in India – Municipal, Industrial and Operation & Maintenance services.
In industrial segment, TWS is focusing on providing optimum solutions based on its abundantly proven record and experience. TWS provides highly reliable and optimum water and wastewater treatment plants through productive interaction with customers from the early planning stage. The company is especially focusing on water recycling solutions and Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) solutions with highest water recovery rate to save water resources for the industry. In the municipal segment, TWS is a one-point Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) company, contributing to water supply and sewerage infrastructure development using its advanced technologies. Under its Operations & Maintenance (O&M) services, TWS focuses on making a plant’s operation and maintenance, stable and efficient. TWS offers one stop solutions to optimize life cycle cost for both CAPEX and OPEX of its clients.
TWS is also actively contributing to the government’s ‘Clean Ganga’ initiative since 2014. Under ‘Clean Ganga’ TWS is involved in projects in three states, for the construction of ten sewage treatment plants. In Uttar Pradesh, one of India’s largest industrial states, it has already completed the construction of three sewage treatment plants (STPs) with a combined capacity of over 92 million litres per day (MLD) and laid down a 385km sewage network. One such project is in Jharkhand, where TWS has completed the construction of two STPs with a combined capacity of 12MLD, and the required pumping stations. The other projects are in Bihar, for five sewage treatment plants with a combined capacity of 129MLD.
In 2020, TWS in partnership with SUEZ India, received an order from Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board. The project covers the design, construction and commissioning of a 775MLD water treatment plant at T.K. Halli, Karnataka.
How can Toshiba’s Japanese technology help India in the field of water and wastewater management in line with the Government of India’s ‘Clean India’ initiative?
India is a developing country and home to the world’s second largest population. However, a vast portion of this population is impacted by challenges like limited access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation. A majority of the domestic wastewater goes untreated, polluting the available water resources like rivers, lakes and ground water sources.
The rejuvenation of the Ganges under the aegis of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is one such platform where the joint efforts made by the central and state governments, urban local bodies and the private sector will definitely result in a synergy that is crucial for the success of the ‘Clean India’ Initiative. TWS is a part of this initiative as we are already working on various projects along the banks of the Ganges – in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand & Bihar.
We have enough experience to improve water environment in Japan for over 40 years. Based on the experience, we can provide wide range solutions for various challenges.
In addition, we have Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) as a Cyber-Physical System (CPS) company. We are ready to offer our solutions with ICT including IoT and Cloud computing for water. With a vast experience and expertise equipped with the strong lineage of technology, TWS is committed to work towards the goal of a ‘Clean India’ for the growth of environmentally conscious industries FOR A NEW DAY.
How much has the demand grown in India for recycling plants compared with other countries?
The demand of water recycling plant in India is fairly high due to increasing water-shortage and depleting per-person availability of water. A report by the World Bank points to India being one of the water-stressed countries. Availability of water per person in the country has been reduced to a quarter in the last 60 years.
The vast landlocked geographical area also makes availability of fresh water difficult. In coastal area, sea-water desalination technology can be utilized, but for inland water shortage, water recycling should be first option.
To save water environment of river, the government is strongly insisting ZLD norms for industries. For efficient ZLD, it’s most important that we achieve the highest water recycle rate to ensure eco conscious efficient & low cost system.
Where according to you does India stand in terms of water conservation, management and wastewater recycling?
The government is focused on water management, water stewardship and water advocacy, and is championing water sustainability through various initiatives at the local and national levels. The government has announced several initiatives to address the crisis, including the Namami Gange project for cleaning the Ganga, the Swachh Bharat Mission to promote waste management and the Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims at universal water supply in all 4,378 Urban Local Bodies, as well as liquid waste management in 500 AMRUT cities over the next five years. TWS is harnessing its knowledge and expertise to support the construction of the water and wastewater infrastructure needed for sustainable urban development and economic growth. Reiterating its commitment to India, Toshiba looks forward to continuing to work together with the government of India and other local partners to turn on the promise of a new day.
What is the level of awareness of wastewater treatment/recycling and management in India?
The awareness around importance of wastewater treatment and water management varies at different touch points. The government understands the need to overhaul and augment the current infrastructure thus, greatly investing in the sector.
In industrial segment, the organised sector is operating out of industrial areas, SEZs and manufacturing corridors have a high level of awareness and actively pursue measures to arrest water pollution at discharge point. But the unorganised and small scale business operations have abysmally low levels of awareness and motives to properly treat the produced wastewater. Similarly, most individuals and households have a reasonable awareness, but expect the municipality and government to deploy wastewater treatment solutions.
You have been in the industry for long, what are your recommendations for India’s Water sector?
Considering the fact that India is one of the biggest consumers of freshwater in the world today, the impending water crisis is a looming danger India should be wary of. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) estimates that by 2030, India’s water demand is expected to rise to 1.5 trillion cubic metres. Per capita availability of water in India has dwindled from 1,800 cubic metres per year in 2001 to an estimated 1,100 in 2050. Before the situation spirals out of control, India needs to focus on wastewater recycling and keeping its rivers clean which are the major sources of fresh water.
Keeping the rivers clean is one of the best ways to contribute to the society and industries set around the river. TWS is actively contributing to keep rivers clean for long time and support Namami Gange with the best water treatment technologies.
Water recycling has a strong point that we can secure water resources at use point without wasting power to transfer water. For India, water recycling must be promoted to improve water shortage. Use of membrane technology can create pure water from effluent at use point. TWS has a good experience in meeting its client’s requests to use this high technology for water recycling, thus being able to conserve water also.
How did COVID 19 impact your order books and what are the key focus areas for Toshiba in 2021-22?
O&M orders books almost had no impact as these services comes under essential services. Like other businesses water sector too faced challenges in terms of new business opportunities due to COVID-19 pandemic impact. Consequent to COVID-19 many of the Municipal tenders/projects got delayed almost by a year as most of the Municipal bodies were actively engaged in fighting with the pandemic. Many Industrial tenders were cancelled and delayed as most of the industries were not functional during lock down which in turn also effected the industries financial situation. Now after resuming normal working after lockdown, the overall economic situation is giving indication of improvement and in 2021-22 Toshiba is focussing on booking new orders by availing the opportunities as may come its way. We believe that Industries in India will grow strongly after COVID and we are keen and ready to support growth of India with the finest solutions for water.
Finally your message to our readers about water conservation and wastewater management.
India is one of the largest and fastest growing country in the world, consuming fresh water at unprecedented pace. Japan too during its evolution was undergoing similar economic transformation and had overcome similar water issues. Toshiba supported Japan’s development with its water technology and put to use its rich experience for this. In India also, our mission is contributing to better infrastructure and improve water environment with our engineering, technology and experiences. We are committed to create new value by taking full advantage of CPS technology and introduce newer technologies for development of better infrastructure for a next day.
TWS is harnessing its knowledge and expertise to support the construction of the water and wastewater infrastructure needed for sustainable urban development and economic growth. Reiterating its commitment to India, Toshiba looks forward to continuing to work together with the government of India and other local partners to turn on the promise of a new day.