Mega Reservoir to collect Flood Water in the Floodplains

The Yamuna Floodplain Natural Water Storage project proposed is the first of its kind in the country and is expected to do both, curb the flooding and water conservation in the floodplains between Palla and Wazirabad. Yamuna’s water surge has displaced a lot of people but might prove to be a boon for the government in testing the credibility of the pilot project. This pilot project is expected to end the city’s issues of water scarcity, particularly during the summers; as it will aim at conserving water in the Yamuna floodplains by creating a mega reservoir between Palla and Wazirabad.

The work of curbing flood water would be done by the mega reservoir containing small artificial ponds of one metre depth built across in floodplains. The flood water would be collected in these reservoirs and would then percolate down into the aquifers. The water would then gradually recharge back into Yamuna naturally. A senior official associated with the project from the irrigation and flood control department said, “Some of the reservoirs, through which water would percolate down to the aquifers, have already been constructed by digging out the top layer soil. They are all inundated now and this would help us. Once the water recedes, we would start ascertaining the rate of percolation. This is the first step of the project.”

Summers in Delhi witness increased demand in the water by 1150MGD and the Delhi Jal Board is able to provide 936 MGD, which leaves the city facing an acute water scarcity by shortfall of 214 MGD. Also, many reports suggest that the ground water in excess parts of Delhi is ‘over-exploited’. 

By conserving the 6 lakh cusecs of rainwater that flows down in Yamuna during monsoons, the project could prove to be a boon for the city of Delhi along with the water conservation projects of Arab ki Sarai Baoli going on in the city.

 

Kejriwal commenting on the project said, “During the monsoon season, at least six lakh cusecs (around 3.5 lakh MGD) of rainwater flows down the Yamuna every day. If we can conserve this water in the river’s floodplains, it would help us to solve Delhi’s water problem for almost a year.” The percolation of water is possible only after the removal of topsoil up to one or one and a half metre, removal of soil will allow faster percolation of water as the layer beneath the soil is of sand. A senior official of the Irrigation and Flood Control (I & FC) department informed, “We have already set up piezometers in the dug-up reservoirs to ascertain the rate of percolation.” The rate of percolation is yet to be measured on-site as according to experts in the field of water conservation and recharging, the views on project change based on the rate of water percolation; whether it is 2 hours per day or 10 hours per day. During the launch of the project, Chief Minister Kejriwal said, “The speed of recharging will be measured. The area until which underground water reaches will also be ascertained. This will form the basis of launching the project on a bigger scale next year once when results of the pilot are known.”

The pilot project could prove to be useful for the farmers too as the land on which it is executed, is given by the farmers from their part on lease to the government. The statement from the government included, “The pilot project has been fast-paced due to hourly monitoring by the CM. He has been keenly pushing for the project, which is going to be a game-changer for Delhi.” The project received a headstart as the report by the interdepartmental committee was approved by the Delhi Cabinet, the report also stated that an amount of Rs. ₹77,000 per acre per year must be paid to the farmers in return for leasing out their land for the project. It also added, “The farmers will get the sum according to the number of acres of land they give the government on lease for the pilot project.”

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