Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding contamination of ground water in Delhi, 11/09/2019
Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of News Item Published in “Hindustan Times” dated 19.06.2015 Titled “Dirty flows your drinking water” authored by Ritam Haldar” dated 11/09/2019 regarding contamination of ground water in Delhi.
The Tribunal in its order of August 30, 2018 ordered the constitution of an independent Monitoring Committee headed by Justice S.P. Garg, former Judge of Delhi High Court. The Committee submitted its second report which was taken up for consideration by the Tribunal on September 11, 2019. The report mentions that as against requirement of Delhi for domestic purposes being 1200 MGD, available potable water was about 936 MGD and ground water resources are over exploited. Out of 34 units, 22 are over exploited (dark blocks), 2 are critical, 7 are semi critical and 3 are in safe category. Over use of ground water for drinking, irrigation and domestic purposes was resulting in rapid depletion of ground water. Water table dropped to more than 300 feet in many areas.
The Committee recommended rainwater harvesting systems (RWH) for storing rain water and its percolation which will help recharge ground water. The report also stressed on reuse of water and use of treated water in gardens and toilets. RWH systems have been implemented in 3477 schools and colleges of Delhi. In 594 it is under construction and in 532 action has been initiated. The Committee carried out inspection of water bodies of Delhi and gave recommendations for their revival. The Committee also found dumping of garbage in water bodies and encroachments which are required to be checked by the land owning agencies.
The Tribunal appreciated the efforts of the Committee in undertaking visits to various water bodies, coordinating with the concerned Authorities for installation of RWH systems, taking initiative for sealing illegal tubewells and efforts for use of treated water in place of fresh water. The Committee has been asked to continue its working as per its action plan and advised to take the help of officers who are working for rejuvenation of lakes.
The NGT in the meanwhile, passed some directions, pending further report from the Committee. The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has been directed to prepare an action plan to ensure that RWH systems are installed in all government buildings, group housing societies, new buildings where occupancy certificate is yet to be issued. Existing government buildings and group housing societies buildings where top RWH has not been installed are required to furnish a declaration of compliance.
The order also specified that technical specification for RWH systems and list of available service providers should be given on the website of the DJB and local bodies within one month. "If specified categories of owners/ occupiers of buildings fail to install RWH and recharge systems by 31.12.2019, the amount of compensation, which may be specified within one month by the DJB, may be recovered and credited to a separate account", said the order. DJB has been asked to conduct a study for constructing RWH at public places and a Joint Committee of CPCB and Ministry of Jal Shakti has been asked to secure status of implementation and action plans from all States and UTs and furnish a combined status report before November 30, 2019. The Chief Secretaries of all the states and UTs have been asked to oversee compliance in their respective areas.