Residents, researchers tie up to boost Gurgaon’s groundwater level

Gurgaon’s groundwater extraction is 308%. It is more than three times the permissible standard
The initiative is aimed at ensuring quality groundwater supply to each and every sector in the city.(HT PHOTO)
The initiative is aimed at ensuring quality groundwater supply to each and every sector in the city.(HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jan 23, 2018 10:11 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByHT Correspondent, Gurgaon

Residents’ groups and researchers have come together to test and assess the quality of groundwater in Gurgaon. The initiative is part of a broad objective to conduct a comprehensive study on water crisis in the city and devise ways to replenish and conserve the depleting groundwater level. The initiative is also aimed at ensuring quality groundwater supply to each and every sector in the city.

Experts have voiced alarm over the alarming depletion of groundwater level in Gurgaon. According to officials of the hydrology department, the city’s groundwater extraction presently stands at 308%, which is more than three times the permissible standard.

Under the banner of Gurgaon Water Forum, a group of students and researchers at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) have tied up with The Restoring Force, an NGO that runs Gurgaon Ki Awaaz, a city-based community radio station, to conduct a year-long study to assess the quality of groundwater in several areas of the city.

Pravin Kushwaha, a postdoctoral fellow at JNU, said, “We started the process of testing the quality of groundwater (in Gurgaon) last month. Our study will continue till the month of May (when summer peaks) and after the onset of monsoon as well. We will examine the data collected in our studies last month, in May and after the onset of monsoon, as it will help us draw up a detailed plan to conserve groundwater. The data will also help us understand the usage of groundwater in Gurgaon and the capacity of its water resources.”

He said that the fact that groundwater extraction was banned in Gurgaon after it was included in the ‘dark zone’ by the Central Groundwater Authority in 2008 means that the city’s groundwater is depleting at a rate faster than its recharge capacity.

The researchers were of opinion that in Gurgaon more than 70% of the population does not get quality groundwater and it was this grim scenario which prompted them to take up the study.

A water expert claimed that although the city is home to two water treatment plants — Basai and Chandu Budhera — neither have the capacity to meet the needs of an expanding city population.

Reseachers said that the study will focus on preserving the existing water bodies and use them as sources to recharge the city’s groundwater recharge.

“We will raise public awareness on the availability and accessibility of groundwater in Gurgaon. The findings of our study will be shared with all schools in a bid to make the students aware of the grim groundwater situation in the city and the importance of saving every drop,” Arti Jaiman, station director, Gurgaon Ki Awaaz, said.

The current population of the city stands at 25 lakh. While the city requires 150 MGD (million gallons daily) of water to meet the needs of its people, it only gets 80 MGD from its twin treatment plants. Kushwaha said that the remaining water requirement is fulfilled by way of illegal extraction.

“Both the (water treatment) plants have limited capacities and hence, it is not advisable for residents to depend solely on them to meet their needs. We need to find more water resources and recharge the city’s groundwater level. We are also focussing on highlighting the importance of the Aravallis in our bid to recharge the groundwater level,” Jitender Bhadana, member, Save Aravalli, who is also part of the study, said.

Read I Gurgaon: 50 lakh litres of groundwater extracted daily by tanker mafia, say experts

The city’s groundwater cell will also play a crucial part in the study.

“We will be sharing the groundwater table with the study group by next month. We have already started the process of sensitising people on the need to conserve groundwater along with members of the study group,” Vijender Singh Lamba, senior hydrologist, Gurgaon’s groundwater cell, said.

The test for assessing groundwater quality has already been conducted in Civil Lines, Badshahpur, Sarai Alawardi, Sadar Bazar and Laxman Vihar areas of the city.

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