World Water Day Special: All for Compensating Your Leaks and Misuse of Water in Delhi..

The Renuka Lake

Sacrificing the enchanting Renuka Lake for giving more water to Delhi

Delhi is the seat of power of the world’s largest democracy. It is also one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. A city of cities, this strategically located conurbation–with the last of the visible Aravalli Ridge on one side and river Yamuna on the other–has been the capital of many an Empires that ruled India and the Indian sub-continent from time to time.

Delhi has also been tackling the impacts of climate change and like all major urban centers in the developing countries, the city is gearing up to meet the sustainability crisis. Delhi is witnessing a large-scale influx of rural population which is the result of both an ever increasing population trend and livelihood failure in rural India owing to floods, droughts and similar weather events which are fundamentally the consequence of a changing climate.

This is putting a great pressure on the natural resources available to the city. The same have been depleting both quantitatively as well as qualitatively at a great pace. One particular resource, water–essential to sustain and maintain life–is most severely impacted owing to this ever increasing population as well as the now unpredicted flow in the Yamuna and other rivers upstream of it. At the same time, policies that are formulated without keeping the sustainability aspect in mind have also been contributing to Delhi’s water crisis. But the most striking feature of this crisis is that there is no crisis at all. Rather, the only crisis that exists is in planning and management.

While some parts of Delhi receive excess water supply than needed, others receive none at all. Then, there are issues of abundant water leakage and rampant water pilferage throughout the city. The water pricing in Delhi is such that its capital cost is never given a thought by anyone, either during flushing it down or even while cleaning their cars. The result: water has now become a sparse resource and the groundwater level in Delhi is at an all time low. What is also striking is the figure (in liters per capita per day) used to calculate the average water demand of the NCT of Delhi. The same is almost three times the national average.

Now, the Master Plan 2021 of Delhi has envisioned that we need more water than the Yamuna naturally brings to the city’s water head at Wazirabad. The same Master Plan document has no significant plans of addressing either the management or planning aspect of the city’s water supply. The solution has been nothing unexpected, bring water from even further away even if it means erecting a dam, submerging farm land as well as parts of a wildlife sanctuary, displacing affected families and the drying of one of the most interesting tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh. Delhi is now working to increase its already big water footprint in a manner that has earned it the dubious title of being a ‘pampered city’.

Delhi’s present is rooted in its past and the city has not just maintained its political and economic influence over centuries but has enhanced it greatly. Delhi is now using this influence to buy the resource of water from as far away as the state of Himachal Pradesh and has already gone ahead with paying the state to construct a dam for diverting water from river Giri to river Yamuna. But can Delhi afford to pay the environmental cost of such a project and has the country at large (especially the project affected families in Himachal) submitted to Delhi’s demand?

And this, when there is enormous mismanagement in Delhi’s water supply at different stages of the supply cycle and unnecessary (ab)use of water in the city. Not to mention water pilferage and the damage it does to the supply infrastructure. We have always known the problems, we have also always known the solution, which is evident and straightforward. It is now a matter of just getting up and doing it. And this time around, we may not get another chance!

This World Water Day, just make one small promise…to your great grandchildren…that you will save enough for them.

Govind Singh

Dr. Govind Singh holds a Ph.D. in environmental studies and is currently associate professor of environmental studies at O.P. Jindal Global University, Delhi NCR. He can be reached at

3 thoughts on “World Water Day Special: All for Compensating Your Leaks and Misuse of Water in Delhi..

  1. Pingback: Water and Forests: Basic Necessity for Maintaining Life and Biodiversity
  2. PRANAM,
    Sub: A plan to clean and stop pollution in Yamuna within 7 months.
    I Gopi Dutt want to draw your attention to problem that Delhi has been facing since as long as 10 yrs now. I am talking about the pollution in Yamuna caused by devotional material, Polybags, Flowers etc. Our govt., different NGOs and now Maharaja Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji have put their best efforts to clean up the river.

    Sri Sri Maharaja Ji is a spiritual guru he has no desire or want for money or fame. From South Africa to America, Iraq to Kashmir people worship him and follow him. Whole world wants to meet him, seem him and Seek his blessings, still he took over the charge to clean the Yamuna in Delhi from various disposed things. Maharaja Sri did the work with his own hands, he tried cleaning up the river by picking up the disposal on his own. He is the first spiritual guru in the world who left popularity and still tried to clean the Life Line of Delhi – The Yamuna. Do you know why? He did this to awaken Delhi. But did we WAKE UP?

    24/4/10 Maharaja Ji finished up his tasks and camps associated with the river and cleaning up river banks. And on 25/4/10 people of Delhi disposed approx. 3,50,000kgs of used hawan samagri, flowers etc. I have some pictures to show this.

    The same way other NGOs, NDTV, the CM of Delhi (Yamuna Mei Jaan Dalo) with various programmes and camps have been trying to clean up the Yamuna but due to lack of a disposal sytempeople still turn to Yamuna for disposing the used materials during pujas into the Yamuna. We need a Disposal System that stops people from throwing these materials in the River. Even though Sri Ravi Shankar Ji tried his best to clean up the river but people still dispose off the samagri and flowers into the river which results that the efforst put in by all the people associated with the cleaning up the River in Vain.

    We all have been trying to clean it up for the past 10 yrs but it hasn’t stopped yet. Does anyone have a plan to stop this that here is no further need to clean n re-clean the river? The problem is that we only create awareness that people should not pollute the river but there are no measures taken to stop this pollution.

    Very soon Delhi is conducting the Common Wealth Games and people from all over the globe are going to travel the city. They talk about Indian Culture which fascinates them, but what are they going to think when they see the flowers used in worshipping God 10 minutes back are in the garbage can or in the river polluting it? What message are we delivering to them? We have to stop this pollution before other nationals start noticing.

    I have researched about the whole polluting issues for the past 7 years; have also noticed it in 22 different states. I have found the cause and the Solution of the problem. During my research I have met CM’s of different states and 162 MP’s and have brought their attention to the issue. I have also met the religious heads of different religions and they have all agreed upon the solution I have now. According to the time limits and need of the hour. They have found my solution to be the best possible way as there is no other option that stops pollution in as soon as 7 months after being implemented.

    In 2006, I met the President APJ Abdul Kalam and the Vice President B.S. Shekhawat and discussed the whole plan with them. The president initiated the project and promised to keep it running believing that this is the only way to save Yamuna.

    I have run the plan in small yet different places to check if what I had researched and concluded can be done practically. Thankfully, it was successful everywhere it was implemented.

    Now I want to implement the whole plan in the region of Delhi so that we can clean Yamuna and stop it from polluting further in future.

    So if you don’t have a plan I have it. I am planning to conduct a 108 days programme called Delhi ki Ganga – Yamuna Mahotsav.
    Fresh Air….
    Fresh Idea….
    Fresh Talent….
    Fresh Energy….

    I need your support in the cause and hope you will contribute.

    Thanking you.
    Kind Regards,
    Gopi Dutt Akash

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