Sunday, September 21, 2014

Borewell target sends govt into panic mode (Hindustan Times/ New Delhi, September, 21, 2014)

Darpan Singh 

NEW DELHI: A government crackdown against illegal borewells being used by industries in Narela and Bawana has triggerred a flood of applications seeking permission to extract groundwater. But it has also set in motion a series of meetings as the government has realised there are no guidelines for the disposal of such requests.

After five not-so-successful meetings held by a district magistrate, Delhi’s chief secretary held one, only to be told by the Central Groundwater Board (CGWB) and Delhi Jal Board (DJB) that there are no norms that should decide borewell permission pleas from industries.

Manoj Misra of NGO Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan said, “It had been well known that ground water levels in Delhi are falling drastically because of over-extraction. That the government has woken up now is beyond comprehension. If rules do not exist then they need to be framed.”

The DJB’s chief executive officer has informed the chief secretary that the government was supposed to provide water to industrial units when they were set up decades ago, but it failed to do so, fuelling use of illegal borewells.

T he gover nment’s woes have compounded because the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has set a September 30 deadline for all industries to apply for borewell permission. After that, all borewells will be declared illegal and sealed. In its latest drive, the Delhi government has so far sealed 1,155 illegal borewells in the two industrial clusters.

“CGWB said there are no specific guidelines except that industries should recharge equivalent amount of water. The chief secretary has said it was not possible to judge individual applications. Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Cor poration (DSIIDC) should apply for bulk connections for supply to industrial units,” said a top government official.

DSIIDC, currently, has two bulk connections of water from DJB for Narela and Bawana but the supply is not sufficient. DSIIDC also has 24 borewells in both industrial areas. “In addition to the bulk connections, DSIIDC should apply for additional borewells to strike a balance between environmental concerns and genuine need of water for industries,” said the official.

2031 DEADLINE - Plan to link entire city to sewers (Times of India/New Delhi, September, 22, 2014)

Neha Lalchandani

New Delhi

Within the next two decades, the entire city will be connected to sewers.Delhi's sewerage master plan 2031 focuses on full treatment of wastewater before it is discharged into the Yamuna.

The draft proposal, released by Delhi Jal Board in public for comments and suggestions, gives a detailed plan to handle sewage for each zone within the city , with special focus on how to bring the sewerless areas within DJB's ambit.

At present, Delhi has 31 wastewater treatment plants equipped to treat 594.72 million gallons per day (MGD) of sewage. However, their capacity utilization is only 57%. The master plan, while suggesting ways to augment treatment capacity , also explores the use of different technology for treatment, management and disposal of sludge, and ways of using treated effluent.

“Many of the wastewater treatment plants are extremely old and their treatment efficiency has fallen considerably .There are also network deficiencies...many of the trunk sewers are silted and settled. A lot of the settled drains discharge their waste into stormwater drains. By 2031, we need to ensure that the sewerage system is a self-sustaining model that has reached every home and all sewage is being treated,“ said a DJB official.

The sewerage system has been designed specifically for 12 zones. Under each zone, DJB has focused on the sewerless areas. In Shahdara, for in stance, the project has been planned to utilize the existing wastewater treatment plants at Yamuna Vihar and Kondli.

The upcoming interceptor sewer system will be responsible for diverting a large amount of sewage to these treatment plants. A new treatment plant has been planned for the Sonia Vihar catchment area.

In Okhla, the untrapped sewage will be taken to the existing Okhla and Molarbund wastewater treatment plants.

A new plant has been planned at Tajpur. Keshopur, which is largely sewerless, will be integrated with other sewerless areas and the sewage will be discharged into existing sewage treatment plants. In the Rohi ni-Rithala zone, sewerless areas will be connected to the Rohini sewage treatment plant.

For the Coronation Pillar zone, the interceptor sewage system will play a big role. It will trap sewage from the sewerless areas and carry it to the existing plant for treatment. Nilothi too will depend on the interceptor system. New wastewater treatment plants have been planned for outer Delhi and Kanjhawala-Bawana.

“The plan is based on the fact that a lot of sewage treatment capacity is underutilized. Hence, we will first connect all areas and then ensure treat ment to acceptable qualities.By 2031, around 10,500 km of sewers will be laid. The areas which already have wastewater treatment plants will be get priority. Besides area-specific plants, there will also be 376 MGD capacity of centralized treatment plants which will more than equip Delhi to deal with sewage generation in future,“ said an official.

The plan is being studied by experts who will submit their comments to DJB within a month. Manoj Mishra, convener of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, said that while the suggestions in the draft proposal are commendable, he is concerned about the lack of focus on the existing sewerage system.

Only a sewerage overhaul can save Delhi (The Times of India/New Delhi, September, 21, 2014)

Darpan Singh 
Delhi may face a civic and health disaster if remedial measures are not taken immediately to manage its waste water, Delhi’s first sewerage master plan has warned.  
The plan, uploaded on Delhi Jal Board’s website for suggestions, states that because of ground water contamination, water-borne diseases (such as typhoid fever, cholera and hepatitis) may take the form of an epidemic, resulting in a disaster.
“The water quality in the Yamuna is two notches below even the normal bathing standards,” says the draft report that aims to fix Delhi’s failing wastewater management system and reduce pollution in the Yamuna by building pipe networks and clean-up centres.
The Rs. 19,500-crore report plan promises to tackle contamination of surface and groundwater as well as soil — all of which are major public health risks.
The city’s 35 wastewater treatment plants can at best deal with only 40% of the total sewage generated every day because of their inadequate number, blocked trunk sewer lines and half the city — mostly unauthorised colonies — lacking a sewerage system. The rest of the discharge flows directly into the Yamuna through rainwater drains, killing both natural systems.
Damage to stormwater drains causes urban flooding during monsoon and reduces groundwater recharge. An IIT-Delhi team, led by professor AK Gosain, is working on a separate master plan for stormwater drains, which should only carry rainwater.
“The river is suffering not just from untreated sewer from unauthorised and unsewered areas but also from raw sewer entering illegally the storm water system from already areas where sewer lines already exist. This needs to be fixed,” said environmentalist Manoj Misra.
“The Yamuna enters Delhi near village Palla in the north. Further, there’s a barrage at Wazirabad where water is taken out by Delhi Jal Board for treatment and supply to households, meeting 70% of Delhi’s water needs. In dry season, no water is allowed to flow beyond Wazirabad. Whatever flows, is waste water,” the report says. 
The plan admits that Delhi’s population has grown by more than 300% since 1971, up from 4 million then to 18 million now.
But sewerage network augmentation, like in other infrastructure areas, has not kept pace. The blueprint proposes integration of various ongoing sewerage projects.
“But this cannot wait for 2031. It must be done at most in another 5 years to meet the Prime Minister’s 2019 deadline for a Nirmal (clean and healthy) Bharat. For this to actually happen, the city will need to provide Delhi Jal Board with powers and resources like those of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation,” said Misra.
 “Unsewered areas, mostly unauthorised colonies, of Delhi face congestion and have inadequate space for laying pipelines. An interceptor project will be a short-term measure before the problem is addressed with modern technologies,” said a DJB official.
The Rs. 1962-crore interceptor project involves laying parallel channels along the three major drains.
These will intercept sewage from several smaller drains that flow into these three drains. The sewage will be treated and released back into the main drains before they meet the Yamuna.
“The project will be complete by the middle of next year and reduce 70%of the sewage pollution in the river,” said the official

Thursday, September 18, 2014

MOEF TO EXPLAIN - NGT raps Centre on delay in defining, notifying river zone (Times of India/New Delhi, September, 19,2014)

New Delhi, Times News Network 

The National Green Tribunal on Thursday pulled up the ministry of environment, forests and climate change for not coming clean on the status of river regulation zone (RRZ), an area proposed to be defined and notified on the lines of the coastal regulation zone (CRZ). The bench was hearing a case against rampant encroachment on the floodplains of Yamuna and Hindon rivers.

After the counsel of the applicant submitted pictures and data on encroachments of floodplains last year, the bench had asked MoEF about what action it was taking to deal with it. On December 2013, MoEF had submitte that it is seriously conside ing notifying RRZ along a rivers, in a move to provide le gal protection to floodplains.

It had also said that an ex perts' committee has bee formed to file a report on th status of floodplains and what RRZ would do. The bench directed MoEF submit the expert committee's report on river banks to NGT. But even after eight hearings MoEF has not submitted the report yet.

Amit Khemka, counsel for the applicant, argued that, despite devastating floods in Ut tarakhand and now in Jammu & Kashmir, the government was ignoring river zone conservation. Cities like Noida and Delhi are now at high risk owing to unabated construction and encroachment of floodplains, he said.

The bench asked MoEF to explain the delay . The MoEF counsel claimed that the ministry has formed an expert committee again which is looking into the feasibility of RRZ. The bench directed that the issue of RRZ will be heard separately and asked MoEF to clarify its stand on November 3. The ministry of water resources, which is also a party in the case, submitted it needs more time to file an affidavit.

Court directs DDA to monitor water supply to Dwarka (The Hindu/New Delhi, September, 19,2014)

Mohammed Iqbal 

DDA had commissoned 10 additional bore wells in the sub-city

The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to monitor the supply of water to Dwarka sub-city by installing flow meters in the command tanks, which get water from tube wells. The Court was informed that water supply in the area had not improved despite the DDA commissioning 10 additional bore wells in the sub-city.

A Division Bench comprising Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul was hearing two writ petitions of the local residents seeking directions to the authorities, including the Delhi Jal Board, to supply more water to the area.

The Bench said since the quantity of water supplied to Dwarka was still being measured through rough estimates, the amount of supply would be clear by installing meters that would gauge the volume of water collected in the tanks.

The petitioners, EPDP CGHS and Dwarka Forum, stated that the local residents were getting only four million gallons per day (MGD) of water against their requirement of 17.5 MGD.
The situation had slightly improved after the installation of more bore wells by the DDA, the Court was told.

The Bench observed that the water drawn from bore wells should be directly supplied to the residents of Dwarka rather than being diverted to the water tankers, which sell it to earn huge profits. It asked the DDA to file an affidavit on the bore wells reportedly being used to fill water tankers for supply to the remote areas in the sub-city.

The Court also directed the DDA to maintain a record of power consumption at each tube well as well as the duration of its operation in order to keep the updated data on water supply. In compliance with an earlier order of the Bench, the DDA counsel submitted an affidavit stating the location of all the 14 functional bore wells in Dwarka.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

DDA to plead with NGT for work in Yamuna zone (Times of India/New Delhi, September, 18, 2014)

Jayashree Nandi 

New Delhi: In a bid to move two municipal wards out of the ecologically sensitive Yamuna river zone and include them in an urban zone, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Wednesday decided to file a plea with the National Green Tribunal. It will move an internal order from the LG to allow construction, repair or maintenance work in unauthorized colonies.

Last year, the tribunal had put a stay on any move to redefine the Yamuna zone. According to DDA officials, residents of certain wards have been complaining that they aren't able to conduct maintenance work on their properties due to the ban on constructions in the `O' zone. “ A stay on re-zoning of these areas is causing problems for residents. We will appeal to the NGT to get the stay revoked. We will also try to ensure that there are no curbs on construction activities,” said a DDA official.

The DDA had issued a public notice in September last year seeking to reduce the ACTIVISTS FRET zone `O' by as much as 40% to pave way for regularization of illegal settlements and constructions in the river belt.The river zone covers about 9,700 ha area from the northern boundary near Palla to southern boundary near Jaitpur. Following the DDA 's notice to re-zone a large part of the floodplains to regularize not just colonies but construc tions such as Akshardham temple and CWG Village, a person filed an application in the NGT seeking a stay on rezoning. The NGT bench had ordered: “DDA shall not act on its notification dated September 28, 2013, without order of the tribunal.” The bench was displeased with DDA’s plans saying that such a move could “finish” the river bank.

Environmentalists are also worried. “Even if they are talking of excising two wards, it sets a bad precedent. It will mean that other parts of the river zone can also be opened for construction. There is no moratorium on house repair work. DDA is trying to project new constructions as repair work. Any such re-zoning move should be stopped,” said Manoj Misra of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan (YJA).

Akhir Kahan Se Milega Gangajal (Dainik Jagran/New Delhi, September, 18, 2014)