A class for the governors
Hope for Bhopal


What...err policy
A step towards a wetter tomorrow


Diamonds are forever
An oasis in the making
Small does matter


Water harvesting at Kinetic Engineering
Zero runoff technology
Preachers become practitioners



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Vol. 2                                    No.4                         August 2000

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A step towards a wetter tomorrow

Taking a welcome stand, the Supreme Court of India, recently issued a directive to Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to undertake water harvesting in Delhi, especially in Vasant Kunj and adjoining areas, to meet the recurring water shortage. The following works were taken up by DDA, based on the reports of a committee set up by the Supreme Court, at a cost of approximately Rs 40 lakh from the DDA funds:

  • Construction of two check dams in Vasant Kunj Phase II, and;
  • Construction of six check dams in Sanjay Van which lies north of Vasant Kunj sector D.

DDA has also approached the Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) to fully involve them in the rainwater harvesting in their areas. It has also drawn up an institutional mechanism to provide technical and financial assistance to these RWAs.

With the construction of the above two schemes, approximately 300 hectares of area shall stand harvested. Allowing for evaporation, runoff and overflow, it has been estimated that the two dams would store about 36,000 cubic metres (cum) of stormwater. Based on studies carried out by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), it is anticipated that about 75 per cent of this stored water will be recharged into the groundwater.

The objectives of the committee, constituting of K P Lakshmana Rao, finance member, DDA, R K Bhandari, engineering member, DDA and Sunita Narain, deputy director, Centre for Science and Environment, were:

  • To execute the first phase water harvesting projects in DDA colonies, i.e. Vasant Kunj, to meet water shortage, and;
  • To execute the works with a view to have the benefit of the next monsoon in the water-scarce areas.
    To meet their immediate objective the committee suggested that a three-tier approach be adopted:
  • The first tier could be for rooftop harvesting in residential pockets.
  • The second tier would apply to the area within the residential pockets other than the rooftop component.
  • The third tier would relate to schemes such as check dams, percolation dams, etc., which would aim at capturing the water outside the residential pockets.

To achieve the first and second tier approach, it was proposed that the RWAs should implement them. The committee also suggested that there should be active participation from the residents and NGOs towards maintenance and upkeep of these systems.

The municipal body or a developing agency would be responsible for the third tier, as per the committee’s proposal. They would be also be responsible for the formulation, total execution and monitoring of these projects.

A central monitoring unit for the purpose of monitoring and technical follow up was suggested. It was proposed that DDA would submit an institutional framework to the Supreme Court for future implementation.