Lack of rainwater harvesting finishing many resources
A large water body at Dhulsiras village in South-West Delhi is an example of what a water body should not be. Littered with plastics and other refuse, moss-covered and encroached on all sides, this water body is also an example of poor management and utter neglect.
“It was a fairly large water body but residents gradually began to fill it up and to create more space for their houses and cattle, and whatever remains of it today is used as a littering bin,” said Rakesh Kumar, a resident of a nearby village and a volunteer with non-government organisation Natural Heritage First.
In the nearby village of Pochanpur one water body has been reduced to a vacant spot for drying out cow dung cakes and as an open air waste bin, and another inside a Dada Bhaiya Shaymji Temple compound resembles a baoli , but in the absence of water has been turned into a volleyball court.
“Most of these water bodies have been allowed to run dry. There is no catchment area management, which would have ensured that rainwater goes into these water bodies. Building concrete slopes and boundary walls around the water bodies does nothing to preserve them, in fact that kills them,” said Diwan Singh, a water conservation expert.
Water bodies, he stressed, need water for revival not money. “The most important factor is water. If you stop the flow of water by creating obstruction in the natural gradient there will be no revival. Water gained from rainwater harvesting has to be channalised towards water bodies,” he said.
Rainwater harvesting in new multi-storey buildings was made compulsory in 2001, but there is no mechanism to check its implementation.
Also, water collected from rain water harvesting is being allowed to flow into storm water drains.
“A lot of housing societies are reluctant to invest money for setting up water harvesting pits and structures. Some that are already doing this are not channelising this water,” said Vinod Jain of non-government organisation Tapas, who has also filed petitions in the High Court for rainwater harvesting, water body preservation and revival and pollution in the Yamuna.
“I have been asking various departments of the Delhi Government to furnish details about the implementation of the court's directives for rainwater harvesting, there is no data on what is being done,” he said.
After the Delhi High Court's order to revive the city's dying water bodies, the Delhi Chief Secretary was made in-charge of reviewing the work of water body restoration and revival being carried out by agencies like the Delhi Development Authority, Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Delhi Jal Board among others.
The Chief Secretary-headed body was mandated to meet once every six months to review the work being carried out. “The meetings are barely happening. The Chief Secretary has made the Parks and Gardens Society in-charge of the work. There are two committees. The one headed by the Chief Secretary has to meet once in six months and the other, headed by the Parks and Gardens society, has to meet once every three months, but these meeting have not been regularly held,” said Mr. Jain.
A large sum of money being spent on water body revival is a waste of public funds said Mr. Singh, adding: “The water bodies need to be free from concrete. During our investigation we have found out about water body restoration, which costs as high as Rs.50 lakh. It is the essentials like cleaning up the filth that chokes them, ensuring water supply and not allowing concretisation around the water body that helps in reviving them.”
Rainwater harvesting in new multi-storey buildings was made compulsory in 2001 No mechanism to check implementation; collected water allowed to flow into storm water drains
Rainwater harvesting in new multi-storey buildings was made compulsory in 2001
No mechanism to check implementation; collected water allowed to flow into storm water drains