Faridabad residents want district declared dark zone for water extraction
Around 150 residents of Faridabad, demanding that the district be declared as a dark zone for water extraction, wrote to the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) - Jal Shakti Ministry, district administration and state government.
The letter, a copy of which was accessed by HT, states, “This (excessive extraction of groundwater) is going to create an uncontrollable crisis situation in Faridabad as the amount of groundwater being extracted in a day is approximately 300,000-litre groundwater per day from the boundary areas of the NIT only.”
The letter was sent under the banner of Save Aravalli Trust, an NGO.
At present, areas under the jurisdiction of the municipal corporations of Faridabad and Ballabgarh are notified for regulation of groundwater development by the CGWB.
A dark zone refers to an area where the groundwater level has dipped beyond the acceptable parameter in a block. A block is first identified as critical before it is declared a dark zone. At present, areas under the municipal corporation are categorised as “critical.”
The residents alleged that the underground water is being extracted illegally from areas outside the municipal corporation’s jurisdiction. According to the records of the agriculture department, Faridabad has been over-withdrawing water by almost 70% for the past few years.
Minakshi Sharma, a resident of Faridabad Sector 49, said, “We have requested the authorities to declare the entire district as a dark zone as the groundwater levels have fallen drastically in the past few years — falling by one foot every year. Water is being extracted illegally in large quantities from rural areas like Pali, Ankhir; which do not fall under the already declared dark zone. Only the urban areas fall under that category. Due to this, the groundwater is being extracted and used for commercial purposes, which in turn results in further depletion of the water table.”
Sukhbir Bhadana, a member of the gram panchayat in Pali, said, “Water is being extracted illegally through tube wells in and around our village. At least 5,000 litres of water are being extracted to fill one tanker, and more than 10 tankers are filled in a day. We have to buy water from these tanker operators as the pumps installed in our houses can’t be used.”
Jeetendra Bhadana, a Pali resident, who compiled the letter, said, “We have been trying to conserve water by restoring ponds across the district or ensuring that rainwater harvesting structures are functional, but this will all be a waste if the illegal extraction of water continues like this. At least 20 tankers are filled per day from the outskirts of the district. There is no water left for agriculture or for wildlife, which will further affect biodiversity. We request the authorities to consider our demands and conduct ground inspections at the earliest. We have received a positive response from the Faridabad deputy commissioner, but the situation is alarming.”
Faridabad deputy commissioner (DC) Yashpal Yadav could not be reached for comment.