Heritage lakes in Delhi on verge of extinction

Heritage lakes in Delhi
Representative Image

NEW DELHI: Delhi Jal Board (DJB) supplies nearly 900 million gallons a day (MGD) of water – mostly from canals carrying river waters and partially from wells and tube wells but still experiences a massive shortage of 300 MGD. The heritage water bodies of Delhi are being lost due to growing illegal concretisation, garbage dumping and sewage disposal.

611 water bodies like lakes, ponds, wells and traditional rainwater storages were supposed to be under the authority of agencies such as DJB, Delhi Development Authority (DDA), forest department, municipal corporations and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) but 274 water bodies have dried up and 190 have been lost forever.

Earlier in December 2018, DJB passed a budget of Rs 453 crore to rejuvenate 159 dying lakes, out of which Rs 77 crores for the creation of two mega lakes in Rohini and Nilothi while Rs 376 crores for rejuvenation of 159 lakes starting with 10 in four months, but nothing much has changed. For instance, Najafgarh Lake in Southwest Delhi is a tributary of the Yamuna but now is known as Najafgarh drain because of the untreated sewage that is dumped into its waters.

The state government had rolled out a proposal for its restoration but not much change can be seen. Manoj Misra, environmentalist said, “If the lake is revived, it will be major source of water and a biodiversity resource.”

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