Measuring water demand through meters, metering ground water usage, water audit for ascertaining and changing usage pattern and increasing distribution efficiency to bring down leakages are some of the highlights of the ‘Water Policy for Delhi’ in the making.
Focusing on “learning to live with water we already have”, the draft document for ‘Water Policy for Delhi’ is being worked out by the natural heritage division of Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and Delhi Jal Board (DJB).
INTACH and DJB held a consultative workshop, third such meeting, two days ago wherein views of experts, NGOs and other stakeholders were sought with a felt need to ensure Delhi’s water security in future.
Welcoming suggestions to bring down losses and control water demand, Nitya Jacob, director (Water), Centre for Science and Environment, said, “There is a broad recognition that Delhi cannot sponge off its neighbours and therefore must learn to live within its means.”
Pointing out a “good thing” that there is less input from the government and more from the civil society, Jyoti Sharma of NGO Force said, “The document mentions increasing efficiency in water distribution, but there is no overt mention of how it should be done.”
Manu Bhatnagar of INTACH said, “There are various issues that we are seeking to address. For instance, we are looking at aquifer management policy. Groundwater is our only internal source. We need to regulate that.”
Dunu Roy of Hazard Centre said, “The way the DJB is outsourcing and privatising its services and operations, will there be a DJB in 2030? Will the private players abide by this?”
To this Debashree Mukherjee, DJB CEO, said, “Policy document is never legally binding but we can evolve a legal framework. (But) Private operators or any one employed by the Jal Board would be bound by the policy we adopt.”