Millennium Post

High Court expresses concern over falling groundwater reserves in Gurugram

Gurugram: Expressing concern over the depleting groundwater reserves, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in an order dated April 9, directed the district authorities to file a fresh status report on the matter within four weeks.

The court gave the directive with reference to a 2008 public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Sunil Singh against the Ministry of Environment and Forests and others on illegal extraction of groundwater through bore-wells.

"Allegations are that on account of illegally dug bore-wells and use of underground water, groundwater level has gone dangerously low. The day is not far when there would no water available. After hearing the learned counsel for the petitioner and also going through records, we feel a fresh status report is required from every stakeholder," the court order

In 2010, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had asked the Gurugram district administration to ensure that water from registered bore-wells is only used for agricultural purposes, and not for construction.

In another order in 2011, the court had asked authorities to submit a report on the number of domestic connections released by the Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran, then HUDA; the volume of water needed for construction in the district and the source from where the water was being taken.

In July 2012, the court even observed no such data was provided by authorities and "nothing was being done to check illegal groundwater extraction".

According to data obtained from the agricultural department's groundwater cell, from 2014 to 2018, the groundwater table fell by 2.5 metres in Gurugram district and by 3 metres in Gurugram city.

The department of agriculture also found that in 2018, the district overdrew on its groundwater reserves by 226%. Gurugram city alone overdrew its supply by 308%.

In 2013, the Central Groundwater Board (CGWB) had categorised the district as 'over-exploited'.

The challenge towards the renewal of falling groundwater reserves in the city can be gauged from the fact that over 180 out of 300 water harvesting pits under the Gurugram civic body is defunct.

The figures came from the survey that was sanctioned by the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG).

The Non-productive use of such pits further increases as water harvesting units in various private colonies and HUDA sectors have also not been effectively utilised. There are over 500 water harvesting pits that are expected to be there in the city.

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