Welcome to Solapur: Home of the Solapuri Chaddar

 

Solapur is a regional hub in South-Western part of the State of Maharashtra, India and home to more than 1 Mio people.  With its rich history, challenging environmental conditions and its well-developed manufacturing sector, Solapur has significant regional importance. As both population and economic activity continue to grow, water security becomes increasingly important to the city. For several years now, Baden-Württemberg and Maharashtra have nurtured a fruitful state partnership. One focus of the partnership is increased cooperation in the field of environmental technologies. 

Baden Württemberg delegation visited Solapur for the first time in 2018. The delegation comprised of State officials, company representatives and academics and the visit lasted for couple of days. This visit was planned, organized and managed by Lets Bridge IT (LBIT), who represent the State of Baden-Württemberg in Maharashtra. The delegation met the top officials and representatives from Solapur Municipal Corporation, Elected representatives of Solapur Municipality, Solapur Smart City, Solapur Industry Association, Academicians to identify and discuss issues of mutual interests. The delegation also visited several companies in the region, water treatment facilities and central effluent treatment plants during the visit. The visit culminated in identification of environmental technologies as priority area for further discussions. In light of this, Baden Württemberg’s State Agency for Environmental Technologies UTBW commissioned Fraunhofer IGB to conduct a feasibility assessment for collaboration projects on water management with the Smart City of Solapur. In May 2019, two stakeholder workshops with major decision-makers from the city of Solapur and local industries were held in order to identify potential partnership initiatives. The monitoring of drinking water as well as the establishment of a platform for accelerated communication and fostered collaboration were identified as implementation projects. Thus, we are excited to introduce our partner city to the AQUA-Hub community. 

 

Solapur is famous for its textile production. Solapuri Chaddars and towels are famous not only in India but around the world. Once home to the world's second-largest spinning mill (the largest in Asia), local manufacturing has diversified. Nowadays, pharmaceutical companies, oil refineries and others have set up manufacturing facilities in Solapur. In both demographic and economic dimensions, it is projected that Solapur will grow significantly in the coming years. According to projections, the population will double by 2041, reaching almost 2 million people. Industrial estates are being planned in parallel and while they will stimulate the economy, their development will require associated services and infrastructure. Accommodating these developments with a reliable water supply and adequate wastewater treatment poses significant challenges to the people of Solapur. 

Situated in the arid region of the Deccan plateau Solapur receives erratic rainfall of around 550mm of which the majority falls during the Monsoon season. As an effect of a changing climate, the Monsoon season has become increasingly unpredictable in Maharashtra resulting in prolonged periods of droughts in some areas and excessive rains in other areas. The city's most important water resource is the Ujani Reservoir, 100 kilometers to the North West. In the recent years, the effects of climate change have already led to varying water levels at the dam. In addition, discharges upstream as well as into the Bhima River affect Solapur’s water supply systems. With escalating water demand and the threat of water scarcity posed by climate change, public, commercial, and civil stakeholders in Solapur are collaborating to develop innovative water management solutions. Solapur Municipal Corporation (SMC) has recognized the importance of integrated water resource management. Several wastewater treatment plants with Sequencing Batch Reactors have recently been commissioned and the city is undertaking further efforts to expand wastewater collection and treatment services in Solapur. Water supply and sewerage treatment are among the top priority sectors for Solapur in the City Development Plan for 2041, besides transportation and solid waste management. Further efforts address the management of water leakages in the water supply network as well as the deployment of innovative water monitoring solutions to leverage the power of data for the identification of strategic and sustainable measures. A great example is the recently commissioned Smart Water Monitoring Scheme at Solapur’s largest Water Works. The project is supported by UTBW. As one of India's 100 Smart Cities, the city of Solapur has the opportunity to implement innovative solutions and pave the way for sustainable urban growth.

In Solapur, water management is a multi-stakeholder topic. The local industries are aware of the potential risks of water insecurity, such as deteriorating water quality and threatened water supply. The companies’ engineers are searching for solutions for improving water efficiency as well as discharge qualities. However, achieving increased water recycling rates is challenging in light of the complex wastewater matrices of textile, pharmaceutical or oil refining industries. Consortia of industrialists jointly manage the two Central Effluent Treatment Plants in Solapur. 

Open to new technologies and innovative approaches to develop the city’s water management, both, the municipal and the industrial sector, provide an excellent foundation for increased collaboration. AQUA-Hub builds on these conditions and looks forward to support the collaboration with German organizations. So that Solapur becomes home not only of the chaddar but also to an Indo-German Water Innovation Hub !

We would like to thank the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) for funding the project "AQUA-Hub", promotional reference 16EXI4021A (Funding: 294.093 €), within the "Export initiative for environmental technologies" program.