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CM declares unprecedented water conservation project

NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday announced a pilot project for conservation of water in the Yamuna floodplains and creating a mega reservoir between Palla and Wazirabad to deal with the "water problem" in the city. Kejriwal said small ponds will be created in the floodplains which will catch water from an overflowing Yamuna. The Chief Minister further added that the Delhi government intends to initiate the ground water recharging this monsoon itself, given the time constraint this time this work will be on experimental basis.

The advantage of the experimental basis initiation this monsoon will be that the government will have a firm basis to proceed on the full project next year, since it will have a better idea through the pilot this monsoon. "The result of the pilot will help us form a clear idea about the success of this project, though the report of the project consultant and IIT Delhi indicate that this project will be a big success, since the Yamuna has a vast floodplain and has a big potential for water conservation and through this project we can solve the water shortage of Delhi," the CM said.

Water will be conserved in stretches from Palla till Wazirabad on a completely eco-friendly basis and no construction or use of cement will be involved and regular flow of Yamuna will not be touched at all. A five-member committee has been set up to execute the project and it has been asked to submit its report by Monday, the chief minister said.

CM said this is an experimental study and results will show how much water can be conserved. Small-small ponds will be made and when Yamuna overflows during monsoon, then the overflowing water will fill these ponds. Water will then percolate down and it will spread leading to an increase in the water table of these areas.

Explaining the concept, Kejriwal said: "The good thing in Delhi is the flow of water from Yamuna slope is towards the city and not the other way round, therefore conservation of rain water is possible. Had the slope been towards Yamuna, then the rain water would have flown towards the river. The project consultant has also indicated the sites where conservation is possible".

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. The Centre appears positive about this project and the Delhi government has requested that given the fact the monsoon is approaching the concurrences be expedited. Also, the land belongs to farmers and the Delhi government will use this land on rent. To negotiate with the farmers, the Delhi government has formed a five-member panel of officers and asked them to give their report by Monday. The CM said the government will only dig ponds, since the Yamuna floodplains is a very big natural reservoir and does not require any construction at all of any kind. The CM also announced that the Cabinet has directed rain water-harvesting to be made mandatory for all government buildings. Heads of Departments have been directed to ensure that all buildings have rain water harvesting systems installed and those buildings which already have these systems, those should be cleaned and made ready to use before Monsoon rains hit Delhi.

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