Delhi’s households can expect uninterrupted water supply during the summer season, thanks to a detailed action plan put in place by CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal. The CM chaired a high-level meeting on Wednesday with Water Minister Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj, Forest Minister Shri Gopal Rai, and high-ranking officials of the government to ensure ample water supply for all households in the capital city. During the meeting, the CM instructed officials to recharge ground water, increase water availability through tube wells, bring uniformity in the quality of water extracted from lakes, and treat the ammonia present in water coming from Haryana. The CM emphasised the importance of timely utilisation of available water and preventing its wastage. The CM further directed that all tube wells be made operational and that faulty ones be repaired within 24 hours. Additionally, he called for expeditious construction of new tube wells and sewage treatment plants (STP) to increase water availability. Officials were also directed to submit a plan within a week to treat the ammonia present in water that comes from Haryana to Delhi. The Chief Secretary has also been directed to coordinate with the DDA to settle any land related issues in this project.

During the review meeting, Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal underlined the importance of increasing the availability of drinking water in the state. He observed that more water is wasted due to supply chain disruptions than the lack of water itself and pointed out the importance of fixing the supply chain to minimise water wastage. The CM instructed the department to ensure that tube wells are installed within six months of obtaining land. The CM stressed that all tube wells should be in working condition and that all available water should be supplied to the consumers. The CM also emphasised that every tube well should be monitored to ensure that it is running smoothly. He directed the officials to deploy an agency tasked with maintaining tube wells for five years and repairing any breakdowns within 24 hours. The CM made it clear that no tube well should be unutilised and instructed officials to hold engineers accountable if a tube well remains faulty for more than four days. The water extracted from tube wells will be transported to the UGRs from where it would be supplied further.

Furthermore, he directed officials to complete the installation of water flow meters on underground reservoirs (UGRs) to curb wastage of water. Flow meters will also be installed on all the tappings to accurately measure the amount of water being used as per plan. The installation of reverse osmosis (RO) systems and flow meters would also help identify which tube wells are functional and which ones are not.

The Chief Minister also discussed the challenges faced in acquiring land for sewage treatment plants (STPs) and directed officials to resolve the issue expeditiously. He assigned the responsibility of coordinating with relevant departments to Water Minister Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj to ensure swift resolution of land-related issues. He instructed all concerned ministers to prioritise the provision of land for STPs.

During a discussion on lakes of the city, the CM called for the need to create a standard operating procedure (SOP) to regulate water inflow and outflow from the lakes. The CM also expressed concern about the lack of coordination in water extraction from lakes and stressed on the need for consistency in water extraction across all regions. Shri Arvind Kejriwal has asked officials to set up RO plants alongside lakes to clean & treat the water before supplying it to households. The deadline for setting up RO plants alongside lakes has been set for September 30, 2023, to this end.

Discussing the issue of supply of water to every household, CM Arvind Kejriwal directed that supply of water from all sources should be through underground reservoirs (UGRs). This would ensure that tube well water is also utilised properly in the process. Officials have designed a reverse osmosis (RO) plant for this purpose, and the CM will be reviewing the design himself. He has urged officials to finalise the design soon and expedite the commissioning of the plant.

The Chief Minister also stressed the importance of utilising treated wastewater. He has directed officials to accelerate the work on the new Chandrawal plant and install filter plants that can treat and recycle waste water. Additionally, an ammonia removal plant is set to be established in Wazirabad, which supplies water to the major localities of the city. The CM has directed officials to prepare a comprehensive plan for the plant within a week and prioritise its implementation.

The matter of Delhi’s water bodies was also taken up in the meeting. The CM urged officials to complete the re-survey of the water bodies within a week, including those in the DDA area where sewage and dirty waters are flowing. The CM stated that around 250 water bodies have been found under the DDA alone, and directed officials to work with the DDA to ensure that these water bodies are properly treated and their water is made available for public use.

There are approximately 600 water bodies in Delhi, and the CM has called for a plan to be made on how to address their management as well. The CM has proposed increasing water availability up to 100 MGD from ground water, and has instructed officials to inspect sites and mark suitable land for this purpose.

Furthermore, the CM has directed officials to upgrade Kondli STP and to provide water from Kondli STP to Sanjay Lake and parks. He has proposed taking water from Rithala STP to Iradat Nagar and DDA’s dead lakes once the Rithala STP is ready in the next three months. Water will also be supplied to other lakes, including those in Bhalswa, and their water bodies will be recharged under the plan.

The CM has also instructed officials to prepare a separate plan for Dwarka WTP and to explore the possibility of using water from approximately 135 STPs to recharge lakes. The CM also praised the DSTP plan for small parks and urged officials to explore its potential for use in 200 to 300 parks, where treated water can be used.

Expressing his concerns regarding the increased demand for water in the upcoming summer months, the CM has called for an increase in water supply and for the readiness of water tankers as backup to ensure that there are no issues. Currently, there are 1200 water tankers in Delhi, but the CM has proposed further increasing their number to meet the growing demand for water. Officials have reported a shortage of drivers for 100 water tankers owned by Delhi Jal Board. In response, the CM has asked officials to hire drivers as soon as possible to ensure that no tankers remain idle. To ensure effective monitoring of water tankers, the CM has instructed officials to install GPS trackers on all tankers.

CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal has scheduled the next meeting with the Delhi Jal Board on March 25, where he will review the decisions taken in previous meetings. The CM has emphasised the need for effective planning and execution to ensure that Delhi has a sufficient and reliable supply of water, especially during the summer months.

Giving details about the meeting, Water Minister Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj said that most of the water coming from Haryana in Yamuna at present is industrial waste water. “Untreated water is being released directly into the Yamuna. The quantity of ammonia in this water is so high that it cannot be treated in the treatment plants of Delhi. In the meeting, the Chief Minister asked to take such steps that arrangements could be made to treat ammonia coming in larger quantities,” he said.

He informed that work will be done in this direction as soon as possible and within about 6 months such treatment plants will be made available which can treat ammonia in large quantities. Additionally, he said that areas with high water tables will be identified and ground water will be extracted from there. This water will be treated and supplied to people’s homes.

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