Delhi has ample water to meet its needs and there is little chance of any water crisis affecting the city in the future, says Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra, adding that the city government is going to make water harvesting mandatory from July.Mishra, in an exclusive interview with IANS, said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government is making swift progress in providing piped water supply in areas which did not have the facility earlier. He said the AAP government is planning to cover each colony, including slums, with its piped water supply network by the end of 2017."We have sufficient water. There is no crisis in terms of availability of water in Delhi. The crisis is of water management and distribution; this will be done away with the piped water supply network. Our aim is universal access to safe drinking water to each household in Delhi by 2017," Mishra said.To boost the ground water level in Delhi and revive the water resources, the city government has come up with a plan to make rain water harvesting mandatory."We are making rain water harvesting mandatory in the city. Any plot or building having 500 sq meter area or above will have to make arrangements for rain water harvesting. We have given time to make arrangements till June 30. Penalty will be imposed after July 1," Mishra said."If people falling under this criteria don't implement it then their water bills will be increased by 1.5 times automatically after July 1," the water minister added.Mishra, who is also chairman of Delhi Jal Board (DJB), said the government has decided to provide incentives to those doing rain water harvesting (RWH).
"Earlier, we were offering 10 percent incentive of the cost on RWH at the plots of 2,000 sq meter and above, but now we have included plots having 500 sq meter area and above, he said.To strengthen the water management and distribution system the government is focusing on providing piped water supply to every nook and corner of the city.Mishra says there was no piped water network in the city for a long time which is the biggest reason for the water problem. "We laid water pipelines in record 217 colonies in one year, which was never done before. Now our target is to lay pipelines in 238 colonies by the year end. We are eyeing to provide piped water supply in all the colonies of the national capital, including slums and JJ clusters, by December 2017," the water minister said. Delhi has been supplying 900 Millions of Gallons per Day (MGD) to meet its demand every day, including with nearly 1,000 water tankers and a vast piped network in place. The city state gets most of its water from neighbouring states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Delhi gets 240 MGD water from the Upper Ganga Canal, which it takes from Murad Nagar in Uttar Pradesh, while it gets 580 MGD water from Haryana through the Yamuna river and Ravi-Beas water scheme. Delhi also uses 80 MGD from its own ground water resources.Areas like Bhati mines in South Delhi have low ground water level, which is at 80 meters there. But Mishra said there are areas with high ground water level as well. "We could find water level at two meters in Jahangirpuri, and at three meters in Siddhartha Nagar Extension. Delhi has varying level of ground water because of its terrain," he explained.
Mishra maintains the water problem in Delhi is "decreasing with each passing day". "The area of water supply through tankers is shrinking as we are laying water pipe lines in lots of areas," he added. He said Dwarka and Palam areas have been made "tanker free" areas. "Earlier people there used to procure water mostly from private tankers, which gave a boost to the tanker mafia," he said.Mishra says that water problem could occur in a few areas in the future as water pipe lines are still to be laid there. "In every constituency there are some tail-end areas where water problem occurs. We have made a list of such areas and arrangements will be made to ensure proper water supply there, including Bijwasan, Badarpur and Rajokri.""Delhi Jal Board is ready to tackle any problem. We can assure that this year's summers will be better than last year. We are bringing 250 more new water tankers to deal with the surge in water demand during the summer. We have also set up 117 underground reservoirs (UGR) to make water supply more efficient in summers," Mishra said. On his stance on use of RO (Reverse-Osmosis) water purifiers that allow a large quantity of water to run waste, Mishra said he doesn't encourage RO water purifying systems. "There is no need of RO water where Jal Board water supply is good. We will open new labs and increase our technical staff to test and improve quality of our water. Our vision is RO-free Delhi in the years to come," Mishra added.