Delhi’s drainage master plan ready to take off

Report highlights need for keeping storm-water drains free of sewage; 40-50 projects aimed at curbing waterlogging to be implemented in next three months

June 23, 2017 09:55 am | Updated 11:12 am IST - New Delhi

Five years after the Delhi government commissioned it, the new drainage master plan for the Capital will finally be implemented, with the first step towards identifying problem areas.

With pre-monsoon rain hitting the city, the government, its various departments, and the municipal corporations have already faced flak over waterlogging in the past week. As the agencies pass blame, the Irrigation and Flood Control Department is working on long-term solutions to Delhi’s monsoon-related urban flooding.

IIT-D team at work

The drainage master plan, prepared by an Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi team, was submitted to the government in December 2016, four years after the Sheila Dikshit government commissioned it in 2012. The report highlighted the need for the city’s storm-water drainage system to remain free of sewage and solid waste. Another recommendation was that the impact of a new drain on the existing network be taken into account.

Recently, the Irrigation and Flood Control Department set up a team of engineers to work with IIT-D in order to come up with specific projects that can be carried out to improve drainage based on recommendations of the master plan, a senior department official said.

Laying of pipes

Around 40 to 50 projects, which will include changing the slope of a drain to ease flow, laying pipes to convey storm-water from the surface to nearby parks or water bodies, would be identified by the team in the next two to three months, the official said.

While experts welcomed the new master plan, as the previous one was made in 1976, they said the implementation of solutions in the report would be key.

The master plan highlights problems that environmentalists have been pointing out for years— covering up of drains and mixing of sewage and storm-water. Since storm-water drains have not been cleaned or have been commandeered for conveying sewage, they end up flooding when it rains, leading to waterlogging and traffic snarls.

Need of the hour

“The first step should be to make sure that the storm-water and sewerage networks do not remain connected. If the storm-water network is maintained properly, it will take the water to the river. There won’t be a need to divert the run-off,” said Manoj Misra, an environmentalist and the convenor of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan.

Only 44 drains traced

According to Mr. Misra, only 44 of the 201 drains in the 1976 master plan can now be traced, with the remaining having been covered or illegally converted into sewers.

He added that the city’s natural storm-water drainage system needed to be revived in order to prevent waterlogging during monsoon.

    • Two teams of four-five police personnel each, Home Guards and Road Safety Officers will remain deployed at these points for twelve hours every day during monsoon. In case of emergency, Station House Officer concerned along with his deputy and at least 10 police personnel will manage traffic at these points.
    • Patrolling on motorcycles at Kherki Daula toll plaza and on Sohna Road (from Rajiv Chowk to Badshahpur village) to manage traffic
    • Two additional police personnel deployed at Police Control Room to take calls related to traffic snarls
    • Four big and two small cranes to be deployed at major intersections to tow away vehicles that break down



Length of storm-water network (km)

Irrigation and Flood Control426.55
Public Works Department2,064.08
South Delhi Municipal Corporation           258.78
North Delhi Municipal Corporation            122.46
East Delhi Municipal Corporation               140.63
New Delhi Municipal Council                      335.297
Delhi Development Authority                      251.30
DSIIDC                                                          98.12
Delhi Cantonment Board                               39.68
National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd.  3.11
U. P. Irrigation (Old Agra Canal)                    0.311



  • No encroachment to be allowed on storm-water drains. The agency in-charge should be held responsible for keeping the drain free of encroachments
  • No sewage should be allowed to enter storm-water network. Only treated sewage that complies to CPCB norms should be allowed to enter storm-water drains.
  • No solid waste should be allowed to enter the storm-water drains either in the form of silt from cleaning of roads or dumping of waste into the drains.
  • Access to covered drains to enable de-silting should be provided. Schedule of de-silting should be made public.
  • No storm-water should enter the sewer network as it would lead to flooding of roads by sewage.

Source: Drainage Master Plan for NCT of Delhi, Draft Final Report, prepared by IIT-Delhi

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