Kolhapur region boasts of overall development of industrial sector. The industrial units comprises of sugar, textiles and automobiles. The region experienced growth of textile sector in the last decade and still it is continued. This is primarily because of good environment, availability of good amount of surface as well as ground water and skilled labour force. Therefore the region attracted investments not only from local giants but also from international textile MNCs.
Ichalkaranji, a small town in this district, is traditionally doing textile business and regarded as Manchester of Maharashtra. The region is having processing units not only for preparatory job on weaved cloth but also for its dyeing and printing work. The hosiery dyeing is also picking up due to migration of units from the southern region of the country as these units were facing closer under stricter pollution norms. The textile industry, primarily for processing of cloth, requires huge amount of water and the need is very well being satisfied by the region up till now. The smallest unit of sizing, bleaching or mercerising consumes minimum 50 KLD to a composite industry of medium to large scale consumes upto 3,000 KLD fresh water. The water used in the processing of cloth gets contaminated by different types of auxiliary chemicals and dyes before its discharge into the environment. The contamination increases its oxygen demand value and toxicity level also, therefore the water needs to be treated and managed well from sourcing to its final disposal so as the contaminated pollutants should not harm the environment and nearby water bodies. Otherwise it would pollute ground as well as surface water and depletes oxygen level further. The textile and sugar industries together discharge around 50 MLD wastewater into the nearby Panchaganga River.
The Panchaganga River originates from the ecologically fragile ecosystem of the Western Ghats, which passes across the region and meets Krishna River in the Sangli district. The Kolhapur district is having some parts of the Western Ghats, which is recently being regarded as the world heritage sites. Monsoon in this region is good and average rainfall around 1,000 mm. The rain fed river gets ample of dammed water in lean seasons through Radhanagari, Koyana and Kalammanwadi dams around. Also the river is having number of small dams at successive intervals along its stretch to ensure water for every village. The small dams are famously known as KT (Kolhapur Type) bandhara in the country.
The growing demand of water by human consumption, industries around and over exploitation in number of circumstances have depleted ground water level in the region that has been witnessed by sever draught in the last year. Also the year before the draught, i.e., in 2012, there was spread of water born disease in the textile town of Ichalkaranji, which claimed 40 lives within two months and thousand affected by jaundice. And the level of river pollution is on rise and this is evident by growth of water hyacinth plant in the river from the last 10 years. The administration is also worried to tackle this environmental scenario and is always under fear to supply the Panchaganga river water. Therefore the local administration always prefer to supply water from another source ie the Krishna River and the nearby river always remain neglected due to the tag of Polluted River.
Dr Rajendrasinh Rana (waterman of India) recently visited the Ichalkaranji cluster and addressed textile processing and sizing fraternity to bring a change in the present environmental scenario of the region. He remarked to initiate water conservation and waste minimisation measures in every processing unit on mission mode and treat the generated wastewater through the existing CETP at bathing standard