South Delhi neighbourhoods may soon have a dedicated pipeline installed to supply recycled water that can be used for maintenance of parks and green zones. The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) sought two weeks from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to frame a policy that will see water from sewage treatment plants used for maintenance of its parks.
The measure comes at a time when Delhi’s groundwater crisis is reaching irreversible levels. There are districts where the rate of groundwater drafting exceeds the rate of natural recharge.
According to an INTACH report on groundwater development — an excellent indicator of groundwater deficit — in New Delhi, the stage of groundwater development is around 170 per cent, which underscores the appalling state of deficit.
Out of nine NCT districts, groundwater development is over 100 per cent in six. In the southern districts, groundwater development is over 200 per cent. Keeping in mind that the national statistic for groundwater development in India is about 61 per cent, this shows how dramatically the NCT deviates from the national trend.
Moreover, as per the Central Ground Water Authority, seven districts concentrated in the south of Delhi have been labelled as “over-exploited”.
The total annual groundwater drafting in the NCT approximates around 389 million cubic metres (MCM) with a net natural recharge of around 281 MCM, giving rise to an overdraft of over 100 MCM.
With groundwater depletion becoming a serious concern, especially in the southern part of the city, the move is part of immediate steps to prevent water wastage.
The SDMC told a bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim that it will frame the scheme within two weeks and informed the bench that a meeting was held in the presence of officials from the AAP government, the Delhi Development Authority, the Delhi Jal Board to implement the initiative.
“According to the substance of the decision, the SDMC will frame a scheme for laying of the pipeline to use STP water for its parks. They seek two weeks to frame a policy. They are permitted to file a copy of the draft policy,” the bench noted.
The matter came up at the NGT during a hearing of a plea filed by Mahesh Chandra Saxena, who claimed to be associated with an NGO working in groundwater conservation.
The petitioner had sought directions for use of recycled treated water from DJB’s sewage treatment plant at Qutub Metro Station to avoid wastage of water. He had also sought directions to restrict use of groundwater through borewells.
The matter will be heard next on May 29.