Bindu Shajan Perappadan

‘City is not able to restore its water table to a healthy level’

Capital needs 950 million gallons of water each day and has only 820-825 MGD

‘City is grappling with an inadequate monsoon and an increased dependence on ground water’

NEW DELHI: For a parched Delhi the latest report card on the status of its ground water released by the Central Ground Water Board spells tough times ahead, with all nine districts of the city reporting a decline in the water table.

“Previously the declining ground water table was restricted to seven of the nine districts in the city, but recently the decline is all over. Worse, the report also notes that the city has lost its ability to replenish and is not able to restore its water table to a healthy level,” said environmentalist Vinod Jain over the weekend.

The latest report released by the Board indicates that the water table has receded further compared to last year and the worst hit is the South Zone.

Areas including Hirankudna, G.T. Road, Dilshad Garden, Aya Nagar, Jaunapur, Pushp Vihar, Humayun’s Tomb, Dwarka Sector-20, Naraina, Najafgarh, Nizampur, Birla Mandir and Talkatora Stadium have registered the maximum fall among the 188 listed sites in the city.

The Capital needs 950 million gallons (MGD) of water each day and has an availability of only 820-825 MGD, this includes the 720-725 MGD drawn from surface water and 100 MGD from underground resources.

“The city is grappling with an inadequate monsoon and an increased dependence on ground water. It was directed to practise rainwater harvesting, which hasn’t been seriously followed. All land owing agencies are required to practise this and those producing 10,000 litres of waste water are required to recycle it for horticulture. Flyovers and roads were to be used for rainwater harvesting, but so far Delhi hasn’t been able to collect its rainwater well which puts additional pressure on ground water,” added Mr. Jain.

Indiscriminate use

The indiscriminate use of this untreated ground water has also caused the Capital’s citizens to expose themselves to a host of diseases.

“Being drawn from an ever depleting water table, often ground water and water being supplied by private tankers is not treated which leaves the population using it exposed to the dangers of having to drink contaminated water,” said Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) director S. D. Makhijani.

“For water to be free of bacterial contamination it has to have .2mg of chlorine per litre of water. People don’t often treat the water that they use which makes them susceptible to bacterial diseases,” he added.

Cautioning against unsystematic and overuse of ground water, he said: “The condition of ground water before the monsoon is very critical because the ground water levels in the Capital have been falling and this leads to concentration of salts in the water, long-term use of which can cause high blood pressure and stone formation.”

The CPCB has recommended a judicious use of ground water and aggressive use of rain water harvesting systems to ensure that the ground water remains recharged and safe for drinking.

Contaminated

Delhi’s ground water is contaminated with high levels of chloride and sulphide which causes stomach problems and nitrate which causes blue-baby syndrome.

Also most of the water being supplied to outer areas of the city is from ground water sources and many of the households in Delhi use bore-well water which is not treated.

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