Delhi is likely to adopt the Singapore model for water treatment by using wastewater, a move that it hopes will help raise 15 to 20 per cent of its water supply by 2020 and by 50% in the next 5 years. The Delhi government is also working on several projects to raise water availability in the national capital by 50 per cent in the upcoming five years. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said that the government would start to follow ‘Singapore water policy’, under which water from sewage treatment plants (STPs) will be treated to high-quality level at Palla near Delhi-Haryana border and released at Yamuna channel.
Speaking to reporters after inspecting Coronation STP in North Delhi’s Burari, Kejriwal said that the initiatives of the Delhi government will put an end to city’s water crisis. Later in a series of tweets, the Chief Minister said, “Rolling out several projects to increase water availability by 15-20% in next 2 years and 50% in next 5 years. Hopefully, no water problem in Delhi after that. Till then, as projects start, water problem would keep decreasing (No increase in water availability for several years before our govt).”
The Chief Minister added that the ongoing work at Burari’s Coronation STP will be completed by June 2019. Currently, water availability in the national capital is around 900 MGD (Million Gallon Daily) while the requirement stands at 1,100 MGD.
The government had also approved two new water sewage treatment plants at Dwarka (50 MGD) and Chandrawal (140 MGD). Both the plants are expected to start by February 2020. The government had also hired consultants to make plans for utilising 605 MGD coming from 36 sewage treatment plants. According to Delhi Jal Board (DJB) estimation, around 200 MGD of additional water will be put back to Yamuna channel.
In 2015, DJB had initiated a “Toilet to Tap” project in Keshopur. However, the project could not succeed due to a ‘cultural problem’ in using sewage water. DJB believes that by putting the treated water in the river, where it will be purified naturally, will help to overcome the problem.
Kejriwal also announced a plan to renovate 200 out of Delhi’s 1,200 lakes in the first phase. “Reviving these lakes will lead to increase in groundwater level in the surrounding areas. We also plan to inject treated STP water into the ground to ensure that groundwater level does not fall, especially in areas where groundwater level is fairly high as of now,” Kejriwal said to PTI.
“Borewells will be set up along the periphery of these lakes to exploit the increase in groundwater levels. Landscaping around the water bodies is also planned. The water will percolate to the ground and improve the groundwater levels in the vicinity,” Kejriwal told ToI.
The government will also start groundwater quality testing at several places where the water table is very high. DJB will install sets of borewell with the cooperation of RWAs to extract water at positive locations. It would also set up mini-treatment plants to compensate for the loss, reports ToI.
The Chief Minister added that Delhi government had discussed with the Uttar Pradesh government to concretise the Gangnahar canal through which water comes to the city from the neighbouring state. “The UP government has suggested that a consultant be hired to look into the possibility of concretising.”
Kejriwal further said, “The Delhi government will bear the entire cost, which may lead to saving of around 150 MGD water as currently a lot of water is lost due to seeping.”
Jyoti Sharma, a water expert from an NGO, Force said that DJB will face many problems to implement the project. “Carrying water against the slope would be an expensive affair. If norms regarding the output water are followed and they are able to implement it, hats off to them,” she told ToI. Meanwhile, opposition Congress and BJP slammed the Aam Aadmi party-led Delhi government for making false promises.