Watering Dwarka's parks: A double-edged sword
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Watering Dwarka's parks: A double-edged sword

Dwarka has 377 parks. But keeping them lush and green comes at a cost.

Watering Dwarka's parks: A double-edged sword

It was way back in 2014 that the Delhi government's environment department asked Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to start using sewage treated water instead of tubewell water for irrigating the parks of Dwarka, but till today the order remains only on paper. And no one — not DDA, not MCD, not DJB — is bothered.

Tubewell water continues to be used to irrigate Dwarka's parks, while 20 MGD of water from Dwarka's STP is drained out into the polluted Najafgarh drain. So neither is groundwater conserved, nor is treated water put to any use at all. 

SK Malik, a resident of Youngster Apartments in Sector 6, has been following up the subject said told City Spidey, “DDA is more to be blamed than DJB. They did not even lay down the pipelines to the parks, to begin with. There is already existing infrastructure for treated water to be used in parks, but even that is not maintained. That's crores of money invested just laid waste. The pipes are damaged and no authority is bothered about what is happening to the treated water in the city. Why have treated water in the first place, then?"

According to a DJB report, use of 128 tubewells and borewells for horticultural use was to be stopped. But nothing, of course, has been done. 

According to data obtained from DDA, the sub-city has 377 parks dependent on rainwater and water from 128 tubewells. According to sources, only five of the 377 parks are getting treated water. The rest are still dependent on tubewell water.

“There is no accountability at all, neither from DDA, nor DJB. There is poor communication between the civil department, responsible for pipelines; the electrical department, responsible for pumps; and the horticulture department, which is responsible for the watering. Almost 60 per cent water anyway is wasted through leaks in pipelines. Almost Rs 50 crore has been invested in this system over 14 years, with a recurring cost of more than Rs 2 crore every year, but to what end?” rued Malik, who had also filed an RTI on the subject.

According to sources, the infrastructure has been there for 15 years. City Spidey got to know that DDA did lay a network of pipelines from the nearest treatment plant to the surrounding parks, but that none of it was being used. Said an official on the condition of anonymity, “There is a big reservoir of treated water in Sector 16D, from where pipelines have been laid to the underground reservoirs in sectors 19B, 11, 5, etc, with the help of which almost 70 per cent of Dwarka's parks can be irrigated. But for years the infrastructure is just lying there, neglected.”

Neither DDA, nor DJB is clear about when and how STP water is going to be used for watering parks. But the authorities preferred to remain silent on the subject, only saying there should be the involvement of policymakers to make it possible.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, during his budget speech of 2018-19, ackowledged the wastage of STP water in Delhi, but it did not seem like anyone had a concrete plan on how to use treated water soon. Till someone decides, it seems we will keep losing precious treated water to the Najafgarh drain while we groundwater keeps getting slowly but surely depleted.