Delhi’s pilot project to recharge and store flood water in the Yamuna floodplains is set for a launch, with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government having received necessary approvals from the Centre and the National Green Tribunal.
The pilot project, overseen by AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, aims to create a reservoir between Palla and Wazirabad in Delhi to deal with water shortage in the capital. Under the project, small ponds will be created in the floodplains that will collect water from an overflowing Yamuna during the monsoon season.
This comes at a time when cities across the country have been struggling to replenish groundwater.
Delhi does not have its own source of water and is largely dependent on three sources for water – ground water, treated water and rain water. Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on a daily basis extracts 84 million gallons a day (MGD) of water. Officials say a similar amount is extracted unofficially each day. According to reports, 0.5-2 metres per year is the average rate of depletion of groundwater.
The project announced by the Delhi government last month received approval from union Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. The AAP government has also approved a payment ₹77,000 per acre to farmers willing to lease their land for the project.
Given the high rate of extraction and growing population in Delhi, the demand for water will only continue to rise. The DJB, which comes under Kejriwal, supplies approximately 940 MGD of water per day. The peak demand of the city is approximately 1120 MGD and is likely to go up to 1200 MGD by next year. Currently, the supply comes largely from the river Yamuna, Ganga and groundwater resources.