At the recently concluded Council of Architecture & National Institute for Advanced Studies in Architecture (COA-NIASA) National Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate and Postgraduate Thesis 2015, Architect Darshan Shah from the Rachana Sansad’s Institute of Environmental Architecture (RSIEA), Mumbai, bagged the runners-up award for his research thesis on “Use Of Naturally-Treated Waste Water for Irrigation by Building Highway Landscapes”.
The research evaluated the suitability of a natural wastewater treatment system such as constructed wetlands along highways to provide treated wastewater for irrigation. For the study, the 700km-long Nagpur- Aurangabad-Mumbai Maharashtra State Highway was selected for constructing wastewater treatment system of Kopargaon town in Ahmadnagar District at which wastewater would be treated and supplied for use in sugarcane fields that consume 2500- 2800cu.m./hectare/year. Performance comparisons of various technologies for primary and secondary wastewater treatment were done.
The study concluded that highway sides and medians are appropriate locations to treat wastewater naturally, creating vegetation buffers. The proposed treatment system can be a prototype for all the highways with respect to its topography. Treated wastewater can be considered as a perennial source of water for agricultural sector, which has the highest water consumption. Economic gains of increased agricultural output with a non-rain dependent farming are immeasurable benefits for a farmer. This kind of a system can prove beneficial to all such areas where water is unavailable for farming, which can help to overcome the problem of drought.