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January 13, 2013

Draft Water Policy calls for Recycling - Consumption Must Come Down, Losses Should Be Cut

Draft water policy calls for Recycling
Consumption Must Come Down, Losses Should Be Cut
Neha Lalchandani TNN

New Delhi: Delhi’s draft policy on water has a strong focus on demand management, suggesting that per capita consumption in the city should decrease from the present average of 172 litres per capital per day (lpcd) by a minimum of 10 litres each decade. With limited fresh water sources, the capital also needs to shift focus to recycling and reuse of waste water and curtailing distribution losses. 

Delhi Jal Board’s 12th Five Year Plan Approach Paper has projected a demand of 1,140 million gallons per day by 2017 for a projected population of 190 million. 

The report prepared by Intach and still in the discussion stage says DJB is currently supplying 822 MGD of water which is an average of 220 lpcd. However, the supply is highly inequitable with Delhi Cantt getting 509 lpcd, NDMC areas being supplied 440 lpcd and outer Delhi areas getting as little as 40 lpcd. 

Delhi also has an extremely high level of non-revenue water which includes that lost en route to distribution points and that which is either stolen or supplied to areas that are not metered. The National Water Policy has directed that an acceptable figure of losses is 15%. 

Shifting focus from supply to demand will entail reduction in present per capita consumption. The Intach report suggests that Delhi should reduce its per capita consumption of 172 lpcd by a minimum of 10 litres every decade. The possible additions to Delhi’s supply are Munak Canal which will supply 80 MGD and Renuka Dam which, if commissioned in part, will supply 150 MGD and, if fully, an additional 275 MGD. Two other dams that could increase Delhi’s supply are Kishau and Lakhway Vyasi with 372 MGD and 185 MGD, respectively. 

However, keeping in mind changing climatic conditions, increase in demandand the fact that Delhi is a riparian state in water sharing agreements, it needs to increase its dependency on recycled water resources. The report suggests that recycled water should form 25% of supply by 2017, 50% by 2022 and a minimum of 80% by 2027. 

DJB CEO Debashree Mukherjee said that one way of reducing demand is by increasing tariff. “For that we are looking at volumetric tariff and full metering by 2020. People should know how much they consume and what they should pay for their consumption. Secondly, awareness building is also our prime focus,” she said.
It is essential to increase availability of water by controlling distribution losses. A maximum permissible loss of only 10% should be permitted by 2025. Delhi’s dependency on ground water also needs to be reduced, especially since its level across the city has dropped to alarmingly low levels. The policy advocates passing of the ground water bill that will give the state more control on ground water resources. It says that aquifer exploitation should be neutralized by 2020 and attain full recovery to 1990 levels by 2030. 

A Water Resources Commission will be set up. Its mandate will be to deal with the regulatory aspects of water and monitoring of policies. 

The commission would “coordinate the actions of all agencies involved with water services, resource management, river issues, foster technological and administrative and financial innovations, track developments in the northern river basins, track climate change impacts on resources, benchmark performance on policy parameters and act as a pricing regulator”. 

A strong focus of the policy is also on development and maintenance of water bodies and river Yamuna. Water quality of the river needs to be improved to bathing quality by 2020.

Priority to water allocation | Demand management | Recycled water resources | Access to water for all | Controlling distribution losses | Aquifer management | Database management | Institutional organization | River-related issues | Public education and awareness

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