Around 200 million gallons per day (MGD) of treated wastewater, which could be used for horticulture, has no takers and is being released into the Yamuna, two senior Delhi Jal Board (DJB) officials have told The Indian Express.
The officials added that agencies managing parks in the capital have been using groundwater for horticulture, even though treated wastewater is available. The agencies include the DDA and municipal corporations.
A DJB policy prohibits extraction of groundwater for horticultural purposes, but allows treatment of sewage taken from nearby parks and other green belts, and its reuse for gardening.
A senior DJB official said, “Groundwater levels are stressed. Despite this, agencies are using water from borewells and tubewells. We’ve been requesting them to collect treated wastewater by either sending tankers to our sewage treatment plants (STPs) or by laying pipelines.”
The department has informed agencies about STPs located within 5 km of parks, he said.
A report, compiled earlier this month by the Yamuna monitoring committee, appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), said only 89 MGD, or less than 20% of the wastewater, is being utilised out of the total 459 MGD treated by the DJB.
An official said the capacity of water recycling has now increased to around 500 MGD. This means around 200 MGD of excess treated wastewater is being released into the river at the present, in addition to approximately 240 MGD flown into it mandatorily by the department, according to the DJB. The Yamuna committee has asked the NGT to issue directions on the matter.
DDA vice-chairman Tarun Kapoor said pipelines for carrying treated wastewater have been laid in Dwarka, but get choked sometimes “because of muck”. “In some areas, the water is available 5 km away. The distance is killing us. If water was available within half a kilometre, it would be more feasible,” he said.