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
To meet their immediate objective the committee suggested that a three-tier approach be
- 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
- 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 committees 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.