Polluted with sewage, the rivers Hindon and Yamuna and the 14 drains that pass through Noida pose a threat to the quality of groundwater in Noida.
“If the state or local authorities do not address this grave issue now, groundwater will be polluted, creating a severe drinking water crisis in Noida. Sewage flowing in rivers and drains will seep into the groundwater, slowly polluting it. Water pumping machines installed near these rivers and drains must be supplying polluted water too,” said Dr Gauhar Mehmood, head of civil engineering department, Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi.
There are 82 villages in Noida that depend on groundwater for drinking water. Most of the village residents have installed handpumps to meet their needs. As most of these villages are not connected with the master sewer line, the sewage they generate is also dumped into nearby water bodies.
In the urban areas, the Noida authority supplies drinking water by extracting around 10-20 million litres per day (MLD) of groundwater to meet the 240 MLD required by the city’s residents. The authority relies on the Ganga water supply from the Upper Ganga canal and groundwater to meet this demand.
“The Noida authority hides facts. In reality, a huge amount of groundwater is being supplied to newly built housing complexes. The authority should ensure clean drains if it wants to protect groundwater,” said Vikrant Tongad, an environmentalist.
The Noida authority, on its part, said it has decided to trap the sewage that flows into the 14 drains.
“The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee, had in December 2016 prepared a detailed plan as to how we can trap sewage and clean the same before dumping it into drains connected with Hindon and Yamuna. These drains carry sewage and waste water from villages in Delhi and Noida,” said Samakant Srivastava, senior project engineer, Noida authority, adding that they will deal with this issue soon.
The plan suggested by IIT Roorkee is based on the interceptor sewer concept. Under this, a sewer interceptor will be installed in the main irrigation drain that cuts Noida in two. A total of 13 drains are connected with this irrigation drain that merges into Yamuna in Sector 150. The authority also has sewage treatment plants in sectors 50, 54, 123 and 168.
“The project of trapping sewage and cleaning it is in the initial stages. But we will complete it to ensure that only clean water flows through the drains. The plan will go a long way in protecting groundwater. We will soon take up this project to the next stage by following the procedures laid down,” said Deepak Agarwal, chief executive officer (CEO), Noida authority.