NGT directs DJB to ensure free water scheme isn’t being misused

NGT directs DJB to ensure free water scheme isn’t being misused
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NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to initiate steps to conserve water in the city. The Tribunal noted that many housing colonies were misusing the Delhi government’s scheme which ensured 20,000 liters of water free per day, while many were resorting to illegal groundwater extraction to avoid payment of water tariffs even after availing the free water. 

“The policy of providing 20,000 liters of free water per month results in excessive use of water. The Jal Board needs to ensure that treated waste water is mandatorily utilised, as its released without any use is a colossal waste of public exchequer,” said a bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, NGT chairperson.

The green panel issued the order after a report filed by a monitoring committee, which was headed by Justice SP Garg (retired) and also comprises representative each from the DJB, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) and the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) concerned, showed that the Delhi government’s flagship scheme of distributing 20,000 liters of water free to every household in the national capital is being misused by several housing colonies.

“The extraction of groundwater by using tubewells and borewells is being done to avoid payment of water tariff. The DJB should take effective steps to prevent this practice,” the panel said.

In contrast to the committee’s finding, the Delhi government had also said that the scheme also led to an increase in water conservation as consumers reduced consumption to avail benefit of the scheme and also led to increase in number of functional water meters.

The green panel also directed the DJB to devise an action plan, with the help of civic bodies or experts, to ensure that rain water harvesting systems are installed in all government buildings, housing societies and new buildings where occupancy certificate is yet to be issued.

As per the rules, installation of rooftop rainwater harvesting systems are mandated for every plot measuring more than 100 square meters. The panel noted that overuse of ground water for drinking, irrigation and domestic purposes has resulted in its rapid depletion. The water table has dropped to more than 300 feet in many areas of the national capital.

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