The Delhi government Tuesday approved a pilot project for conservation of water by creating small ponds in the Yamuna floodplains from Palla to Wazirabad, a move aimed at addressing the "water problem" of the city. Announcing the Cabinet's decision, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the move will increase the water table and authorities will pump out water stored in these ponds. There is water scarcity in various parts of the country, including Delhi and the project will not only help authorities deal with current water problem, but also tackle future difficulties, he said.
"We have prepared a scheme...in coming days, we will recharge ground water in the floodplains of Yamuna. This is an experimental study for us. Its result will tell us how much it can conserve water," Kejriwal said.
As per the plan, the government will rent farmers' land located on the Yamuna floodplains and create small ponds in the radius of 20-kilometres from Palla to Wazirabad to conserve water. The chief minister said the government will only dig ponds, since the Yamuna floodplain is a very big natural reservoir and does not require any construction of any kind.
Besides rainwater, overflow water of Yamuna during the monsoon season will come into these ponds and will be percolated. This will increase ground water table, Kejriwal said, adding that the expected project cost is around Rs 50 crore. "We have constituted a five-member committee to prepare modalities of the project. It has been asked to submit its report by Monday," Kejriwal said.
The chief minister said the Centre has assured the AAP government of full cooperation to implement the project. "I recently met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on this issue. The Centre has assured us that it will soon take a decision on this," Kejriwal said. After the Cabinet decision, the Delhi government will require the concurrence of some Central government agencies, about which the Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat was informed in the recent meeting with him.
After the meeting with Modi last month, Kejriwal had said said that his government had planned to store Yamuna water during the rainy season. "Del govt plans to store yamuna water during rainy season. One season's water sufficient to meet one year's Delhi's water needs. Requested Centre's support (sic)," he had tweeted
On his part, Delhi Urban Development Minister Satyendar Jain had said that this is a pilot project, which will later be implemented across the city to address the water problem.