There will be water wars soon: HC on depleting water level in Delhi

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said there would be "water wars" soon given the rate water sources is depleting and asked the city government whether it has any policy in place for implementing rain-water harvesting measures.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 13, 2014, 21:22 PM IST

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said there would be "water wars" soon given the rate water sources is depleting and asked the city government whether it has any policy in place for implementing rain-water harvesting measures.

"Is there a policy for rain-water harvesting? Ground water levels are going down. There are carcinogenic materials in the ground which could contaminate water reservoirs. At this rate, we will have water wars soon,"a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul said.

It also ticked off Delhi Jal Board (DJB) for covering up various ancient water bodies or `baolis` in the capital, while hearing a PIL seeking directions to civic agencies to make rainwater harvesting (RWH) compulsory in the city. "You (DJB) have covered up all the ancient water bodies or `baolis` in Delhi. Look at any of them," the court said to advocate Sumeet Pushkarna who appeared for DJB.

It asked advocate R K Kapoor, who has filed the PIL, to amend his plea to include the cause of water bodies as well as find out what happened to some earlier petitions, in the high court, on water bodies and rain-water harvesting and whether any directions were passed on them and if yes, whether they were implemented.

Delhi government was asked to find out whether there is any policy with regard to rain-water harvesting and upkeep of water bodies.

The court also queried as to which agency was responsible for ensuring that Yamuna is not polluted by discharges from the city.

"All of you do your homework and come back on next date. Renotify on August 20," it said. Kapoor has, in his plea, apart from seeking that rain-water harvesting be made compulsory in Delhi, sought setting up of a nodal agency to coordinate with all the civic agencies and municipalities to create rainwater harvesting projects (RWH) "in all government buildings, hospitals, schools, colleges, flyovers and at all other possible places".

The petition contends that the authorities should "make it compulsory for all cooperative and other housing and building societies to incorporate the clause of compulsory rainwater harvesting (RWH) in their projects and no project should be approved unless it specifically makes a provision for RWH".

The petition also seeks that Delhi Jal Board be directed to create the infrastructure required for providing connectivity between rainharvesting projects and borewells of DJB.

In his petition, Kapoor has submitted that the quantity and quality of underground water in the national capital has gone down.

"There has been a large-scale extraction of groundwater which itself is a result of the widening gap between the demand and supply of water," the petition has said, adding "the quality of underground water is also deteriorating and in several places it has been found to be unfit for human consumption."

He has also submitted in his plea that "even 50 per cent of the rainwater harvested could help in bridging the demand supply gap".