he Kejriwal Government is working vigorously on a plan to reduce the water shortage in the national capital and ensure 24×7 water supply. Delhi Government’s ‘Palla Floodplain Project’ to recharge ground water by harvesting the water coming through flood in Yamuna river during monsoon has proved to be a tremendous milestone in this direction. Due to the Palla Floodplain Project in Delhi, the ground water level is continuously improving.
An average of 812 million gallons of groundwater has been recharged in the past three years. In view of the successful results of the project, the Kejriwal Government has decided to continue this project this year as well. In this vein, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia held a review meeting with the senior officials of the flood and irrigation department on Thursday. He stated that the project is currently spread across 40 acres, of which a pond has been created on 26 acres, where flood water is stored and used to raise the ground water level in Delhi.
According to the Delhi Jal Board, in the study conducted during the pre-monsoon and post-monsoon seasons in the years 2020 and 2021, it was found that the groundwater recharge from this project is moving towards the city from the Yamuna river, thereby increasing the groundwater of the entire city. The water level is getting better.
Palla Floodplain Project successful, better results seen in groundwater level
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that the Yamuna passing through the capital gets flooded almost every year during the monsoon, in which crores of litres of water used to flow through the Yamuna. In such a situation, the Kejriwal Government started the eco-friendly Palla project three years ago in the floodplain near the Yamuna river to collect this excess flood water passing through the river during the monsoon season.
Under this, a pond of 26 acres was built, where flood water is stored. It is being used to augment the groundwater in the capital. 33 piezometers have also been installed to measure the extent of the rise in groundwater levels. The main objective of the Palla Floodplain Project is to store flood water so that this accumulated water can be used throughout the year to improve the groundwater level. The successful results of this project have come, which shows that the groundwater is being recharged rapidly from this project.
Lakhs of gallons of water from yamuna will be used to recharge groundwater levels
Manish Sisodia said that in the last 10 years, the groundwater level had gone down to 2 meters, but after the commissioning of the Palla Floodplain Project, the groundwater level has increased by half to 2 meters. “These results are very encouraging. Based on this successful result, it has been decided to continue this project for one year now. While about 812 million gallons of groundwater have been recharged at present, about 20,300 MG of ground water will be recharged by increasing the area to 1000 acres.
This project will prove to be a great example not only for Delhi but for the drought-stricken and water-stressed states of the entire country. He said that the Palla floodplain project is one of the major projects underway by the Kejriwal Government. The stretch of about 20–25 km between Palla and Wazirabad has naturally created pits (aquifers). The water fills in during the monsoon or floods. This water from the river then descends and remains in the pits. Where before, millions of gallons of water used to flow into the river, now it will not be wasted,” he said.
An average increase of 0.5m to 2m was observed in the ground water level
A few years ago, about 8000 hectares of Yamuna floodplain used to be encroached. So unfortunately there was no important place for the flood water to seep and recharge. Improved results were seen in the immediate aftermath of the work on the Palla Flood Plain Project. In 2020 and 2021, respectively, 2.9 million cubic meters and 4.6 million cubic meters of underground water were extensively recharged. At the same time, even after this, it was observed that the groundwater level of the last year in the Palla project area was higher than the estimated 3.6 million cubic meter groundwater. This project not only increased the demand and supply of water.
The gap between the supplies has been reduced, but the water in the pits (aquifers) has also increased. As per the data collected with the help of piezometers, an average increase of 0.5 m to 2 m was observed in the ground water level in the project area.
A rise in the groundwater level was observed even after regular extraction of 4000 MG by the farmers of the surrounding area and 16000 MG through borewells by the DJB to supply water to the people of Delhi. The road map for the pre-monsoon and post-monsoon seasons in 2020 and 2021 shows the flow of groundwater from the Yamuna river to the city. Apart from this, the groundwater level has improved very fast in the area with the pond as compared to the area where there is no pond.
Ground water recharge data from Palla pilot project in three years
Year 2019 – 854 million liters
Year 2020- 2888 million liters
Year 2021- 4560 million liters
Kejriwal Government committed to putting rainwater to good use
Deputy Chief Minister said that the Delhi Government is working on various projects to create quality infrastructure in Delhi and provide better facilities to every section of the society. These projects are aimed at water conservation, water pollution control, recharging underground water, reduction of odour, supply of clean water to the households of Delhi, cleaning of Yamuna, and maintaining the ecological system by increasing natural carbon sink.
The Kejriwal Government is also working on war footing to store rainwater in Delhi. In this year’s rain, more than 1500 new rainwater harvesting pits are being built to collect rain water all over Delhi, which will be ready before July 15. The Kejriwal government wants to increase the groundwater level by recharging the groundwater, so that it can be used later and Delhi can become self-sufficient in the conservation of water that can be used in the future. These pits will prevent the wastage of rainwater. Regarding this, PWD has been instructed to expedite the work of making rainwater harvesting pits so that maximum benefits can be obtained from it during monsoon season.
Kejriwal Government will explore possibilities of ground water recharge in collaboration with Denmark and Singapore
It is noteworthy that the Delhi government is working fast to make Delhi self-sufficient in conserving and storing water. In this regard, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had also met Danish Ambassador HE Freddy Swain recently. Also understood the Danish rainwater conservation model. During this Freddy Swain told how Denmark has made itself self-sufficient for water by conserving rainwater. The government is considering adopting those models of Denmark in Delhi as well.
The Kejriwal government is keen to implement such a solution, so that we can recharge the groundwater from this monsoon itself and expand the scope of its conservation. Apart from this, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also met the High Commissioner of Singapore HE Shri Simon Wong. Also discussed implementing state-of-the-art solutions to strengthen ground water recharge and its extraction infrastructure in Delhi.
Simon Wong had said that both Delhi and Singapore are two distinct urban centers with similar problems. As such, there is a huge scope for cooperation between Delhi and Singapore, especially in the areas of water, environment, public housing and solid waste management.