Two days after a high court order jolted the city’s realty sector, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has suggested that treated sewage water be used for construction activities.
Gurgaon treats 137 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage every day, more than sufficient to meet the builders’ needs, the think tank has said. In view of the recent Punjab and Haryana High Court order restraining the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) from issuing licence to any new constructions in Gurgaon till July 31, CSE has also suggested more rainwater harvesting efforts along with protecting recharge zones in the Aravalis for improved local water availability.
For a population of 16 lakh, Gurgaon needs 184 MLD water. Huda claims it is in the process of securing water for another 27 lakh people. Its data shows that water requirement in 2021 would be 918.75 MLD, which would be met through Gurgaon Water Supply Canal and the newly laid NCR canal.
“A more workable solution is mandating builders to use treated sewage water for construction. Gurgaon treats 137 MLD of sewage a day, more than sufficient to meet builders’ demand,” said Nitya Jacob, programme director for water (policy and advocacy), CSE.
“Additionally, better quality and more rainwater harvesting should be mandated to improve local water availability. A third step would be for the city agencies to invest in securing Gurgaon’s local water endowment by protecting its recharge zones in Aravalis,” Jacob added.
Gurgaon was completely dependent on groundwater till 1995, when the 69-km channel to bring water from the Western Yamuna Canal was built. But this canal meets a mere 30% of the city’s water needs.
Groundwater, hence, has remained a key source of water for the Millennium City, resulting in drastic depletion of the resource. Although the CSE has welcomed the high court order, it observed, “It might be very difficult to rein in groundwater misuse with the abysmal state of municipal supply”.
A case in point is the court’s February 2011 interim order restricting use of groundwater to drinking and domestic purposes.
“None of the directives were carried out in earnest,” a CSE statement claimed.
Moreover, Huda’s R24 crore project to treat 137 MLD sewage water collected from all the 57 sectors and supply for non-potable purposes has been hanging fire for many years. Haryana government has recently given clearance for this project.