It all started in 2010 when environment enthusiast Diwan Singh, residing in Shaman Apartments, thought of doing something for the water bodies in the area. He shared it with others and the movement started gradually in 2011.
'Where there is a will there is a way' and it has been proved by the people of the sub-city by reviving a water body located at the DDA park in Sector 23, Dwarka. With their joint efforts, the water body which was without a single drop of water earlier is now with water and throughout the year.
(The water body before revival)
City Spidey spoke with the people who have been instrumental in this successful revival campaign. According to them, the journey began in the year 2010 when environment enthusiast Diwan Singh from Shaman Apartments thought of doing something for the water bodies in the area. He shared it with others and the movement started gradually in 2011 following active participation of people across the sector.
Shramdaan took place, meetings and follow-ups were organised with civic bodies. Besides, experts were called to check the soil and water recharge efficiency in that particular area. Not only this but Rajendra Singh, popularly known as 'waterman' too was invited in order to add strength to the campaign, highlighting the issue to the policymakers. RWAs, social organisations, other resident groups, villagers, etc carried out the work collectively and it has now become a success story of the city.
(Community people indulge in Shramdaan)
Talking about the details of the developments that took place, people involved in the initiative said that on June 6, 2013, the then Lieutenant Governor of Delhi had formed Dwarka Water Bodies committee. The panel had four members- Diwan Singh, member of senior citizen group Sukh Dukh Ke Sathi SS Mann, professor Shashank Shekhar from Delhi University and chief engineer of the sub-city.
"We managed to discover more than 33 water bodies in Dwarka and initiated work for their revival. However, the government authorities were least interested," claimed SS Mann.
Diwan Singh too echoed the same thing. "We approached National Green Tribunal to seek revival and protection of water bodies. In November 2016, encouraging orders were passed by the tribunal but unfortunately, DDA doesn't regard the order. Everything was once again left to the residents who had accepted the fate and but with continuous efforts by all, the water body in the sector has been revived."
Residents and social organisations of Dwarka mainly from Sector 22, 23 and Pochanpur village have been active there for revival since the year 2011-12 to revive the local water bodies. People said that though it was a tough task for them as the authorities were not so supportive earlier, they managed to make it successful.
(Group of people standing in the catchment area after the campaign started)
The role of senior citizens of the groups called 'Sukh Dukh Ke Sathi' and 'Jaladikhar' has been crucial in making this campaign a fruitful one.
"It has been a perfect example of a collective community effort. Being a spot which was not in use for the past several years, people feared that they might get bitten by reptiles and other creatures. So it has been a tough task but when we look at its state now, we feel proud and satisfied," SS Mann said.
When City Spidey asked people about the change they witnessed after the revival campaign, they pointed out that other than peacocks, blue bulls and monitor lizards, the population of birds and other species has increased significantly. Besides, people have made a small woodland around this water body.
The pre and post-monsoon levels around the water body have shown good improvement as the level increased by 8 feet in 2015 and in 2017 it increased by 2 feet. The water quality of the groundwater has shown significant improvement as we noticed a 50 per cent reduction in the total dissolved solids (TDS) levels in the groundwater in the top layer. Singh said the members of the committee and others have been making efforts based on their previous experiments.
"We are making the officials aware of what has changed and what are the possibilities. This year we want to use each drop of rain for the revival of the water bodies across the area," Diwan Singh concluded.
(This is how the revived water body looks now)