Is treated water polluting the Yamuna and leading to revenue loss for DJB?
Is treated water polluting the Yamuna and leading to revenue loss for DJB?
Akhilesh Pandey
Is treated water polluting the Yamuna and leading to revenue loss for DJB? Wastewater management

Is treated water polluting the Yamuna and leading to revenue loss for DJB?

Can you imagine that millions of gallons of treated sewer water is being wasted by Delhi Jal Board (DJB) every day? The treated water produced by sewage treatment plants (STPs) across Delhi is being drained into the Yamuna through various polluted nullahs and drains, thus polluting the river further. 

On the other hand, after spending huge amounts on treating water, it is wasted completely. The irony is that this treated water is sold by DJB at the rate of Rs 7/kl (kilo litre). Thus, the wastage is leading to a double loss of revenue for DJB.

DJB claims that sewage treatment plants produce 450 MGD (million gallons per day) water. Out of this, only 89 MGD is used in Delhi for horticulture purposes and sold. The rest 361 MGD of water is drained into the Yamuna. In this manner, the city has been losing a vast amount of money for years.

Nearly 35-40 MGD water is produced in southwest Delhi through the STP at Dwarka, and out of this, only 5-6 MGD is used. The rest is drained into the polluted Najafgarh drain. Apart from the revenue loss, it also pollutes the city’s water resources.

Convenor of “Yamuna Jie Abhiyan” and an eminent activist, Manoj Mishra told City Spidey, “The concept was to drain the treated water in the Yamuna to rejuvenate it. However, the river is now almost dead and the water in it is contaminated and highly polluted. This huge amount of treated water goes into the Yamuna every day through a poor and contaminated drainage system, mixed with sewer water and pollutants. This only contaminates the Yamuna further. This sad state of affairs has been continuing for a long time; the situation has gone from bad to worse.”

According to a DJB official, the treated water is better than any tubewell water used for horticultural purposes. He added that there must be a system to oversee that instead of constructing more tubewells, the treated water should be used for the purpose. This would, he said, also conserve groundwater. The whole process would then minimise the burden on potable water.

Mishra further emphasised, “Imagine if the treated water reached the Yamuna without being contaminated, how useful it would be for water conservation. On the one hand it would support natural water resources, and on the other, it would lessen the burden on DJB for providing potable water to Delhi. So it’s necessary to think about the issue now.”

A senior DJB official admitted to the loss of revenue as a result of the wastage of treated water. However, whether the water being drained into the Yamuna rejuvenated it or polluted it further remains a subject of analysis. 

Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia, too, mentioned in his budget speech on Thursday that the government planned to use the 361 MGD of treated water being drained into the Yamuna.

This, however, is a topic for future discussion. The reality in the present context remains that due to poor management of water, DJB is losing a huge part of its revenue, along with further polluting the Yamuna.