Water-guzzling distilleries on radar

CHANDIGARH: Alarmed by the reports of depleting groundwater in the state, Local Bodies Minister Anil Joshi has told the Industries Department to regulate the use of groundwater by the plants manufacturing beer and distilled spirit used in alcoholic beverages.

editorial@tribune.com

Rajmeet Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12

Alarmed by the reports of depleting groundwater in the state, Local Bodies Minister Anil Joshi has told the Industries Department to regulate the use of groundwater by the plants manufacturing beer and distilled spirit used in alcoholic beverages.

Joshi has also written to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, seeking an audit on the water consumption by these units.

Official figures for the 2015-16 financial year (up to January 2016) reveal that around 3 lakh kilolitres of distilled spirit was produced at 16 distilleries across the state. On an average, for each litre of distilled spirit, 20 litres of water is consumed. On the whole, about 60 lakh kilolitres of water is used up to manufacture distilled spirit.

The figures do not include the groundwater consumed by the three breweries and 22 bottling plants in the state.

It’s either groundwater or the water supplied by the Industries Department that is used for the purpose. Groundwater accounts for 1.2 million hectare metres (38%) of the total water available (3.13 million hectare metres).

Joshi, who had recently issued instructions on restricting the use of potable water across the state, said he had also taken up the matter with the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board.

Citing the reports of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), irrigation experts have warned of a sharp fall in the agricultural output and a severe shortage of drinking water if efforts are not made to regulate the use of water for agriculture, industrial and domestic purposes.

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