Jal Board to turn abandoned Rajghat fly ash pond into 40-acre lake in three years
The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has planned to turn the abandoned fly ash pond behind Rajghat into a lake, spread over 40 acres in the next three years.
This is the sixth artificial lake that the Delhi government has planned to come up with after the ones that has proposed at Timarpur, Rohini, Nilothi, Dwarka and Najafgarh.
The area once used to be a fly ash pond when the Rajghat power plant was operational. But since the plant was shut in mid-2015, the pond has been abandoned. It is a low-lying area, which has been infested with weeds over the years.
“The decision was taken in a DJB meeting held by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday. The lake will be able to hold 50 million gallons of water, and be fed with treated water from the Delhi Gate sewage treatment plant (STP),” Dinesh Mohaniya, vice chairman of DJB, said.
“As the DJB is planning to fill the water body with STP water, they should also go for secondary and tertiary treatment of the water. The fly ash should be removed first so that there is no contamination. Wetlands could also be constructed to treat the water further in a natural manner,” said CR Babu, professor emeritus and head of the Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystem (CEMDE) at Delhi University.
Senior DJB officials said the water from the STP will be further treated with ozonation and activated charcoal, before being allowed into the lake. Aeration would be also done so that there is no lack of oxygen in the lake and aquatic animals can survive. The lake would be developed at a cost of ₹36 crore over the next three years.
“As the area falls under the floodplains of the Yamuna, the lake will include landscaping and biodiversity components to ensure natural restoration of floodplain and to minimise the effect of ash contamination over the period,” a senior DJB official said.
Once the lake comes up, it would serve several purposes. The lake’s water will be used to water the garden at Rajghat. This will help to phase out the bore wells presently used to water the garden.
“Additionally, it will help dilute the contamination of the groundwater and aquifers in the adjacent areas. At present, polluted water from the Yamuna seeps into these aquifers in the floodplains, thereby contaminating it to some extent. This would also help to increase level of the ground water table in the area,” said the DJB official.