The Draft Regional Plan 2041 for the NCR, which was recently made public, makes a slew of suggestions to deal with the supply, use, and reuse of water, and the management and use of water bodies in NCR.
It suggests exploring possibilities of bringing seawater through pipelines to Delhi-NCR “from the nearest seawater source,” to meet non-potable water requirements for large industries and commercial establishments, “so the freshwater available in NCR can be reserved for potable purposes”. To augment water supply, it also suggests that 300 tube wells can be constructed along floodplains in NCR.
The National Capital Region Planning Board, which functions under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, has invited objections to and suggestions on the draft plan by January 7.
The plan also suggests exploring the possibility of ferry services in the Yamuna between Wazirabad and Sonia Vihar, along with similar passenger and cargo ferry services along the canal network in NCR, including the Agra canal, Upper Ganga Canal, and Western Yamuna Canal.
“Drawing water from the floodplains will have to be done carefully. Some parts of the floodplains are likely to have saline water beyond a certain depth,” said Diwan Singh, environmentalist, who has been associated with water conservation and the Yamuna floodplains.
“Encouraging ferry services along the Yamuna would mean dredging the river. That can harm the natural ecology. The river also would not have enough water in summer,” he said. For the treatment of wastewater, the plan proposes setting up decentralised treatment plants that can be reused locally.