In an attempt to make the national capital self-sufficient in water, the Delhi government on Tuesday decided to test natural water storage in Yamuna floodplain during the upcoming monsoon season. In the decision taken by the cabinet, the government has also made rainwater harvesting mandatory for all government buildings.
“There is a shortage of water across the world and various states in our country. Wars have already started over water. We get to hear that groundwater is low. We have come up with a scheme which will help Delhi in the future to tackle water shortages. The cabinet has passed the proposal. In the coming monsoon, work to recharge groundwater in the Yamuna floodplain will be undertaken," Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal said while addressing a press conference after the meeting.
Kejriwal met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat last week over the Yamuna floodplain plan and increasing Delhi’s water share. The Delhi Jal Board comes directly under the chief minister.
The government is yet to decide the scale of the project but has said that it will be done in an eco-friendly manner.
“This is a start but we don’t know the scale at which we will be able to implement this. All reports have said there is a lot of potential in the Yamuna floodplain. We will start on a small scale and on a large scale from next year. We will get to know the percolation rate this time," he added.
The project is awaiting approval from the central government. It will be undertaken on land that largely belongs to farmers. The Delhi government is working on taking land from them on rent. On Tuesday, a committee led by Delhi government officials met to finalise details of rent.
A Niti Aayog report released last year had said that Delhi, along with 20 other cities in the country, will run out of groundwater by 2020. There has been a renewed focus by the governments in the state and at the centre to take on projects to conserve water and recharge groundwater.
“In all Delhi government buildings we will install rainwater harvesting structures. Existing structures will be cleaned," Kejriwal added.