The civic body will pump out nearly 20 million litres of water to beautify three major ponds, a move experts called mindless as the amount of water, if treated, could quench the thirst of 100 families in Ranchi for nine months.
Ranchi battles water shortage every summer.
The civic body has started drying up a pond near Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), and water will be drained out of Jora Talab (twin ponds) in Bariatu in a day or two, officials said. The three water bodies are now full to their capacity.
When the government is digging up lakhs of farm ponds to store rainwater and pushing for water harvesting, the civic body is drying up the ponds, which will impact groundwater recharge, experts said.
The Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) has rolled out a `3.35-crore project to beautify and de-silt the water bodies, and state urban development minister CP Singh recently laid the foundation for beautification.
“Boundary walls around the ponds, pathways, greenery and lighting are some of the features designed for the three water bodies,” Ranchi deputy mayor Sanjeev Vijayvargiya said on Sunday.
RMC executive engineer Umashankar Ram said the pond near RIMS would be beautified and de-silted with `1.21 crore. “Water is being pumped out for dredging of the pond. Dredging was done last summer but it could not be completed,” Ram said.
Executive engineer Ravindra Pandey, monitoring Jora Talab, said, “The two ponds are nearly 1.9 meters deep, which will be further deepened. A plan of `2.14 crore has been estimated for the ponds.”
A water resource department engineer said a one-metre-deep pond on an area of one acre could store more than 60 lakh litres of water. “Since all three ponds are full to their capacity and each pond is 1.5 metres deep with an average area of 1.35 acres, the civic body will drain out nearly 20 million litres to dry up the water bodies,” he said, requesting anonymity.
As Ranchi has limited surface water sources, dependency on groundwater has increased. The groundwater level has been depleting by 1m to 1.5m every year in the upmarket neighbourhoods such as Kanke, Morahbadi, Doranda, Hatia and Harmu, a Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) report said.
Residents of parts of Ranchi are still receiving water four days a week from Hatia dam because of 30% deficit rainfall this monsoon.
“Drying up three major ponds could create groundwater problems in summer in localities, as ponds are major source of groundwater recharge,” said TVN Singh, a hydro-geologist at CGWB, Ranchi. He said deepening or dredging should be done in summer not in winter when ponds are filled with water.
“If it is very necessary, the pumped water could be shifted to other reservoirs or ponds of the city so that water doesn’t go waste,” Singh said.