New Delhi: In a rare instance of collaboration, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government and the central Jal Shakti Ministry on Friday launched a pilot project to create natural reservoirs to conserve rainwater in the Yamuna floodplains. The project was launched by Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
In an attempt to make the national capital self-sufficient in water, the Delhi government had in July announced its decision to test natural water storage in the Yamuna floodplains during the upcoming monsoon season. This comes at a time when several cities across the country and the world are facing water shortage.
Kejriwal thanked the central government for its support, which ensured the launch of the pilot within two months of it being announced. In the past, the AAP government has levelled allegations that the central government is creating hurdles in its functioning.
“There is a big task ahead of India when it comes to water. We have 20% of the world’s population and have access to only 4% of water. We need to not only clean the Yamuna but all rivers so that we can make India self-sufficient when it comes to water. Growing urbanization will increase these challenges for drinking water and irrigation," Shekhawat said.
He added that India needed to look at best practices around the world. Countries like Israel have worked to become self-sufficient even though they have even less access to water. He said that these countries have done this through rainwater harvesting, re-use of sewage and using technology for efficient use of water.
“Science and technology can come up with a solution for all the problems that are being faced by humankind. Today an experiment on a large scale is being done to revive groundwater levels in the national capital. This is the first time that such an experiment on such a large scale is being taken up across the floodplains," Kejriwal said.
Ponds are being dug under the soil to recharge groundwater. The top soil will be removed and porous soil will be used to increase percolation.
“We will see the speed at which the water is percolating. There are different estimates for this. I did not imagine that this would happen in a short span of two months. The project is being launched with the support of the central government," Kejriwal said.