Hunnar Shaala Foundation for Building Technology and Innovations, Bhuj, India
(A Registered Not-for-Profit Corporation


Aerial view of sewerage treatment plant

Another view of the plant

View of the new Bhuj cityscape

View of some of the flora being cultivated in the green belt

Recycling sewage transforms rivulet into Green Belt of Bhuj city

Rivulets, 12 km long network through the city … like ‘arteries’ bringing life to the lake systems of the Hamirsar.

This pilot project takes 30,000 liters of sewerage every day from the Municipality sump feeds it to the micro organisms in the DEWATS treatment plant and uses it to bring life to half a kilometer and transform this neglected rivulet to become the ‘lungs’ of the city.

This is what has been inscribed on a board on the site, in the middle of Bhuj city. The city was devastated after the earthquake in 2001, destroying buildings and killing more than 7000 people in the city. Few could have imagined that the city would bounce back, and be recognized as one of the fastest and finest examples of rehabilitation in the world. The city has gone beyond providing basic services and infrastructure and the green belt project epitomizes such an approach of placing bold new tools of planning and technologies, that respond to the problems our cities of tomorrow will face. The DEWATS sewerage treatment plant and the landscaped banks of the rivulet are built with the help of India Today readers and support from Indians in the US through the American India Foundation (AIF).

The rivulet was a dump yard with garbage, sewerage and bush into which people went to defecate. It was also land that developers hoped they could get some day as the land prices sore in this part of the city. The sewerage of the adjoining Bankers colony is taken from the main sewer line and treated in the middle of a busy part of the city in the ‘state of the art’ technology called DEWATS, (Decentralized Waste Water Treatment System). Infact the treatment chambers are themselves designed such that it has become a place for morning walkers to use for yoga, and for children to play in the evenings. The treated water is used to irrigate trees and plants along half a kilometer of the rivulet. Hunnarshala foundation, that have designed and promoted the project with the Municipal Corporation and the adjoining residents of the nalla, has developed an urban watershed project with five other NGOs of the city and is confident of recycling more than 60% of the city sewerage thereby reducing 30% of the requirement of water for Bhuj. Put to good use the water can green the city and bring income too by developing public spaces and growing horticulture trees along the rivulets. The Green belt has planted high quality organic Kharek (Dates) along with more than 126 local species. The entire treatment is based on gravity flow and has no movable parts that need maintenance or technical personnel to manage. The plant is overseen by the gardener.

To stop some of the building residents from throwing garbage into the rivulet Hunnarshala along with other NGOs had to resort to ‘Gandhigiri’ tactics, personally cleaning the garbage. Some of the societies who had built large walls along the dirty nalla are now contemplating breaking the walls and opening themselves on to the green belt.

This project demonstrates the solutions to the multitude of problems faced by Indian cities. Our nallas and water bodies have shrunk even disappeared causing havoc in the monsoons, with waters leaving the nallas to flood parts of the city, causing loss of lives and to the economy.

Supported by Care Today, the project was managed by Kutch Navnirman Abhiyan, a network of NGOs in Kutch.

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