Wastewater Management in India and China



China is the largest emerging market for environmental technologies, with an overall environmental technologies market that is valued at US$ 27.35 billion in 2012. In the 2015 Top Markets Study, conducted by the U.S. International Trade Administration, China ranks 1st for overall environmental technologies and it also tops the global water treatment market.

The new effluent regulatory requirements and continued industrial expansion in some provinces such as Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong, Zhejiang, Henan and Fujian are the key growth drivers for the Chinese water treatment market. Power, chemicals, steel, leather, paper manufacture, and pharmaceuticals are major industries that propel the water treatment market in China.  Investments in water treatment market have reached over US$ 20 billion. As of 2014, China has more than 4,000 wastewater treatment plants and the number can be expected to increase at 6% per annum over the next five years.

Furthermore, the Chinese government continues to strive for higher water quality and greater accessibility to clean drinking water and sanitation services. This contributed to the extensive construction of wastewater treatment plants across China. In 2014, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) pledged to invest US$ 329 billion to treat municipal and industrial wastewater. The South-to-North Water Diversion Project also mandates the construction of over 400 wastewater treatment plants along the eastern route to treat severely polluted water bodies. The Chinese government also hopes to promote the protection and management of important water resources.

CanalA canal of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project

Beyond mechanical treatments, the Chinese government hopes to introduce improved chemical and biological methods. Some key technologies that are in demand are anaerobic digestion, nitrification, and biological denitrification. These are potential areas of research and development (R&D) for key players in water and wastewater treatment industry.



In India, the decline in per capita water availability creates a strong growth opportunity in the water treatment market. The unpredictable rainfall patterns and contaminated groundwater have had an impact on the growth of wastewater treatment plants. The per capita water availability is projected to decrease to 1,140 m3 by 2050.

In terms of water treatment market, the market is valued at US$ 2.54 billion and it is expected to grow at over 15.2 percent annually through 2018. Currently, only about 30% of effluent is treated before being released into water bodies. The government hopes to achieve the goal of zero discharge of untreated effluent into water bodies. It is estimated that US $126 billion is required over the next 20 years to achieve the goal of meeting India’s basic potable water needs.

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) is the largest source of financing for municipal water and wastewater projects. In the state of Bihar, there are plans to develop over 100 water treatment projects. In Maharashtra, the government also aids in establishing common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) where companies in the same industry can treat their wastewater together. There are also emerging opportunities in the ‘new industrial cities’ in India. An example is the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). The DMIC plans to establish seven new industrial cities, with a capital investment of US $90 billion in wastewater management.

Effluent Treatment PlantCommon effluent treatment plant in Delhi

Power plants, oil and gas, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and mining are major industries that are driving the water treatment market in India. The industrial water treatment market in India is projected to grow at a rate of 20 – 25 percent per year.

However, weak regulations and enforcements in the treatment of effluent increases the treatment complexity. The government is expected to tighten up the regulations and enforcement to achieve its goal of zero discharge of untreated effluent into water bodies. The plans to implement a tariff system to penalize industry players who discharge low quality effluent can also be effective in the long run.


To know more about chemicals used in effluent treatment, visit Chemtradeasia.


By: Saiful

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