Central Ground Water Board chairperson Sushil Kumar Gupta spoke to Nivedita Khandekar about contamination and extraction of groundwater and related issues:
What is the effect of polluted drains such as Najafgarh drain and/or the polluted Yamuna vis-à-vis sewage and industrial pollutants’ contamination on the quality of groundwater?
In a study last year, we found concentration of heavy metals along the drain, in both sewage and industrial drains. This is polluting the groundwater.
Who is supposed to take action against illegal extraction of water?
The Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi is the authority concerned. He has notified all the blocks of Delhi under the Environment Protection Act. We always encourage state governments to take action.
Given the recharge potential of Yamuna flood plains, how should it be saved from encroachments?
Yamuna has huge recharge potential. But again, encroachment removal is a problem that should be dealt with by the state government.
Large-scale construction is happening across Delhi. Metro is digging all over, huge buildings are coming up. There is large scale de-watering. What is being done to regulate extraction?
As per the guidelines of the Central Ground Water Authority, if there is de-watering being done for any project, that water must be put to gainful use. In Delhi, it is the L-G’s responsibility.
What is the CGWB activity in Delhi?
We are currently on National Aquifer Management Programme and launched a comprehensive aquifer-mapping programme in Delhi too. We also assess aquifer-wise water availability and its quality.