After Chennai, Delhi is also facing alarming cases of disappearing groundwater. As per the Census of 2011, In India, only 32% of households have tap water supply from treated sources. Almost 18% of Delhi households do not have piped water supply.
Yet, this city has one of the highest percentages of households with piped water among all of India’s states and union territories. Only seven of India’s states and union territories have tap water supply in over 80 percent of households.
Meanwhile, in the national capital, which recently saw mercury rise above 48 degrees, “unauthorised colonies” like the ones in Devli, Badarpur and Dwarka are facing acute water shortages.
One of the conservationists said that Akshardham temple and Commonwealth Games Village is built on Delhi’s water bank, thus the possibility of recharge of groundwater almost becomes nil.
Veena Khanduri, executive secretary of the non-profit India Water Partnership mentioned that the lost water bodies have been illegally turned into cremation grounds, temples, stadiums etc. This calls for the restoration of lost water bodies.
The remaining water bodies are in poor condition, filled with sewage and garbage dumped by residents and also deliberately by land sharks, or developers who want to encroach the land. The infiltration capability is said to have decreased from 15 percent to just 5 percent. Including heatwave action and a decrease in rainfall, there have been many stresses (on the groundwater). The situation seems very grim right now.
According to a NITI Aayog report, Delhi is among 21 major cities that will run out of groundwater by 2020. In a report by the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) the groundwater levels in the city are depleting at an astonishing rate of 10 cm per year.
In order to replenish the groundwater, rainwater harvesting is compulsory but there are no compliance checks. Along with this, consumers also have to do more to check their water-usage practices.
Image Credit: The Quint