Plan to use floods for groundwater recharge working, says Delhi government
The Delhi government on Monday said its project to recharge groundwater using flood water along the river Yamuna has begun showing encouraging results. Officials said even after a fortnight since the recent floods, water deposits could be seen in several pits that were created last month.
Ankit Srivastava, technical advisor to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal who also holds the water portfolio, said the immediate pit which is barely 150 metres away from the river has recorded a rise of 1 metre in the ground water level. “Even our farthest pit which is located 750 metres away from the river has seen an increase of 0.5 metres in the ground level. These recordings are of August 30, which is weeks after the Yamuna’s water level receded,” he said. Water level of the Yamuna had remained above the danger mark of 205.33 metres between August 20 and 21.
Srivastava added that the ground water level has shown an increase despite borewells of the Delhi Jal Board regularly extracting 20 MGD of water along the floodplains.
The Yamuna floodplain project is a first-of-its-kind project in the country, which aims to conserve excess water flowing down the river during the monsoon by creating a mega reservoir in the floodplains between Palla and Wazirabad. Government officials said detailed findings of the project will be made public in about 2-3 months from now.
The Delhi government on Monday said that installation of flow metres on water pipelines has decreased the share of unaccounted water by at least 27% points in the national Capital.
Out of the targeted 3,000 flow meters that were to be installed, the Delhi Jal Board has already installed 2,100 of them. “In less than a year since installation of such meters had begun, the government has found that the water that was unaccounted for has come down from 33% to only 6%. This means leakages and water thefts are being tapped on a war footing. At least 200 tappings across the city now have flow meters fixed on them enabling us to audit supply and pilferage 24x7,” he said.
The flow meters have mostly been fixed on the lines which link water treatment plants and primary underground reservoirs. In 2015, the city had only 350 flow meters for auditing purpose.
The government also countered criticism by the opposition where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged that the water amnesty scheme announced by Kejriwal last week is merely a “freebie to garner votes” ahead of the Assembly elections in Delhi.
“With the latest water scheme, we are rather expecting DJB’s revenue to go up by Rs 600 crore. Further, the DJB has estimated that at least 4 lakh new water connections will be added from this initiative as more people would now want to avail the benefits,” said Srivastava.
The data provided by the government stated that after a similar scheme was introduced in 2016, the DJB realised Rs 484 crores.
An official in the CM’s office said that the amnesty scheme is a part of Delhi government’s “bigger project” to reform the city’s water sector. “This is the 16th policy intervention towards improving water supply and augmenting water capacity in Delhi. Other such interventions such as recovering development charges, waiver of additional sewer charges and winning court cases to increase Delhi’s water share from Haryana,” the official said.