Delhi’s excessive reliance on groundwater and its rampant, often illegal, extraction through tubewells and borewells have left eight districts in the city “over exploited”. As per the data collected by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) and based on surveys conducted in 2009, Delhi is among the four States that have 76 “over exploited” zones. The other States are Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. No groundwater extraction is permitted in the over-exploited assessment units.

In Central Delhi, the over exploited areas include Karol Bagh and Paharganj; in East Delhi the areas are Preet Vihar and Vivek Vihar; in New Delhi district Chanakyapuri and Parliament Street are the over exploited areas; in North Delhi it is Kotwali and Sadar Bazar; in North-East Delhi it is Seemapuri and Shahdara; in North-West Delhi the areas are Model Town and Saraswati Vihar; in South Delhi, Defence Colony, Hauz Khas and Kalkaji; in South-West Delhi, Delhi Cantonment, Najafgarh and Vasant Vihar; and in West Delhi, Patel Nagar and Rajouri Garden are listed as over exploited.

Union Minister for Water Resources Harish Rawat told the Lok Sabha on Thursday that to check the rampant misuse of groundwater, the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), under the Ministry of Water Resources, has carried out registration of groundwater abstraction structures in parts of the NCR to assess groundwater withdrawal as a one-time exercise. As per the available data, 1,04,858 borewells and tubewells have been registered by the CGWA in four NCR areas .

He said the CGWA has appointed officers-in-charge of Revenue District (District Collectors/Deputy Commissioners/District Magistrates) as authorised officers to take up various regulatory measures in notified areas, including regular checks against illegal borings. For enforcement of the regulatory directions issued under Section 5 of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, Deputy Commissioners, District Collectors and District Magistrates concerned have been authorised to take necessary action, such as seizure of drilling rigs, sealing of tubewells and discontinuation of electricity against owners of illegal boring, Mr. Rawat said.

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