Groudwater level dipping fast, Jal Board to start rainwater harvesting in South Delhi

The two most critical zones with regard to groundwater — South and Southwest districts — have now been chosen by the government for rainwater harvesting projects to recharge the declining groundwater table in the areas.

Earmarking Rs 1 crore for rainwater harvesting from the Delhi government's "My Delhi, I care" fund, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has signed contracts with two NGOs to identify 100 areas in the two districts that are ideal for capturing rainwater.

The NGOs have also been tasked with designing architectural plans for the complex systems and submit those designs to the DJB to secure the funding for the projects. The Forum for Organised Resource Conservation and Enhancement (FORCE) and the Indian Trust for Act and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) were both awarded contracts of around Rs 16 lakh to execute the campaign.

"We are looking at depleted resources in the most critical areas, and it is important to step up the recharging effort," DJB CEO Debashree Mukherjee said.

She said while FORCE would focus on South district, INTACH had been chosen to promote the project in the Southwest district.

The rainwater harvesting systems involve a series of canals and catch basins that collect, filter and funnel the rain into the ground or store it for later use.

The optimum spots for harvesting are on industry rooftops or other large land-owning institutions such as Residents' Welfare Associations.

One catch basin of 100 sqm, according to the DJB, saves about 40,000 litres of water every year — about four times the annual drinking requirement of a five-member family.

According to figures available with the Central Ground Water Board, the rate of decline is as high — 1.7 m to 2 m every year in the chosen districts.

The DJB's initial proposal, to have several NGOs identify 600 locations in the capital for rainwater harvesting, was scaled back as there were not enough respondents for it in December, Mukherjee said.

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