Delhi must drastically reduce water consumption and leakages and increase the use of cleaned up sewage, besides arresting a rapid slide in groundwater levels, the draft of the Capital’s first water policy has said.
T he 121- pa g e document has been put on the Delhi Jal Board’s website for comments before the government turns it into an actionable plan to ensure Delhi does not face shortage of wholesome water.
The water utility gets surface water from Yamuna, Sutlej and Ganga. It also extracts groundwater from borewells. But despite a network of 11,350-kmlong pipelines the demand-supply gap is of 265 MGD (million gallons per day).
The document says the government will set up a water resources commission which will act as a pricing regulator and would be a steering body to track and integrate water sources and monitor various government agencies.
“Government agencies lacked motivation, and acted without a sense of urgency and interdepartmental coordination,” the draft says. It also blames the government for failing to give a clear direction, project outlines, and specific budget allocations.
On an average a person in Delhi uses 172 litres of water per day. The draft says this has to be reduced by a minimum of 10 litres every 5 years. Experts say 100 litres a day is enough for one person.
Currently, 40% of the total water supplied in Delhi is lost to theft and leakages. The draft policy says Delhi must plug leakages and bring the distribution loss under 10% by 2025.
The draft also says Delhi must increase its recycled waste water use to 25% by 2017, 50% by 2022 and at least 80% by 2027. This is to meet its non-drinking requirements and reduce fresh water use. There is miniscule use of cleaned up waste water now. “If waste water is cleaned up at local levels instead of only at big plants more recycling and reuse is possible,” the draft says.
The draft says the rapid fall in groundwater table must be arrested by 2020 and restored to 1990 levels by 2030 through water harvesting, waterbody conservation, new laws and regulations.
The Aam Aadmi Party government is running a scheme of up to 20,000 litres of free water per family per month. But this is only for households with functional metered connections. The Delhi Jal Board said in 2012 that 8 lakh connections had either defective or no meters. The draft policy says each household should have water meters by 2020.