The pilot for the “Yamuna flood plain natural water storage project”, which has the potential to end the national capital’s water shortage during summer months, would start in a month’s time, the Delhi government said in a statement on Wednesday.

This is the first of its kind project in the country, where excess water flowing down the Yamuna during the monsoon, would be trapped in the floodplains to recharge the ground water. This is expected to help ensure water during the summer. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is directly monitoring the pilot project.

“The Delhi cabinet approved the inter-departmental committee report on the first of its kind project in the country. The pilot for the project is aimed to start in a month’s time,” the government release stated.

Even though the peak-demand of water in Delhi shoots up to around 1,150 million gallons per day (MGD) during summer, the Delhi Jal Board can produce only around 936 MGD.

But several studies conducted by National Institute of Hydrology and IIT Delhi in the past had suggested that the stretch of Yamuna flood plain in Delhi has a very high recharge potential. Under the Yamuna water sharing agreement, out of the 580 million cubic metres (MCM) of monsoon season flow allocated to Delhi, about 280 MCM goes unutilised due to lack of storages.

The project aims to trap the excess water flowing down the river by creating a mega reservoir comprising several smaller ponds between Palla and Wazirabad. This reservoir will catch the overflowing water, which would then percolate down leading to an increase in the water table of these areas.

“As the slope of the land from Yamuna is towards the city and not the other way round, therefore conservation of rain water is possible. Had the slope been towards Yamuna, the rain water would have flown towards the river,” said a DJB official.

Officials said that the project would be eco-friendly. Only ponds would be dug in the floodplains.

Also, the land belongs to farmers and the Delhi government will use this land on rent for three years. To negotiate with the farmers, the Delhi government had formed a five-member committee of officers and asked them to give their report by Monday. The committee has said that a compensation of ₹77,000 per acre per year would be given to the farmers. While the pilot project has already received most of the approvals, two from National Green Tribunal (NGT) committees, are expected soon.

Kejriwal also thanked union jal shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, for the centre’s quick approval for the project.

First Published:
Jul 11, 2019 06:13 IST

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