Delhi: What did the people of Dwarka do that the sinking of this place stopped? – न्यूज़लीड India

Delhi: What did the people of Dwarka do that the sinking of this place stopped?

Delhi: What did the people of Dwarka do that the sinking of this place stopped?

This area of ​​about 100 square kilometers of Delhi is slowly sinking. But Dwarka has changed this process.



By BBC News Hindi

Updated: Monday, January 23, 2023, 14:03 [IST]

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A migrant laborer carrying water from a water tanker in Dwarka.  The picture is from 2015.

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A migrant laborer carrying water from a water tanker in Dwarka. The picture is from 2015.

In Uttarakhand’s Joshimath hundreds of buildings got cracked because the construction work was going on indiscriminately and in the meanwhile water was being exploited in an unbridled manner, due to which the ground water level also went down.

Obviously, the land started sinking and experts feel that many other cities may also face the same fate. But in the meantime, a large colony of Delhi, which was yearning for water, did what not only stopped the subsidence of the land but also improved the water level under the ground.

Sudha Sinha and her family decided to settle in Dwarka area of ​​Delhi in 1998 while planning for the future.

There were two big reasons behind this decision of Sudha, now 54 years old, and her joint family. One, Dwarka was close to Delhi airport and secondly, a lot of attention had to be given to greenery in the plan here.

But the happiness of this family was short lived. Sudha says, “We came to know that there is no government water supply in the area and we had to store the water extracted from the boring in the morning and evening because there were frequent power cuts in those days.”

Sudha Sinha


Sudha Sinha

Beginning of water crisis

Before the establishment of Dwarka on the lines of a modern city, most of the area here was known as “Pappanakalan”.

According to the Archaeological Survey of India, excavations in the area where Dwarka is now, show that during the time of the Lodhi rulers of Delhi, there was a village named Loharhedi.

However, due to the increasing population in the area, the need for water kept on increasing and in the last 50 years, thousands of borewells were put here, some of which got water after digging 60 meters.

About four dozen families living in Sudha Sinha’s apartment were also dependent on the water drawn from the borewell.

But the difficulties and depth of the family when the bad effect of water started showing on his skin and his hair started falling. Actually, in the water extracted from the ground, minerals, salts and metals like lead present in TDS water were in large quantities.

According to Mahendra Galhan, a former police officer who has lived in Dwarka since 1991, “Everyone’s lives depended on the water from the borewell. Every two to four years the water level went down and had to be dug again. We started worrying about the future “.

As the pressure on the borewell water increased, the water level also decreased. Meanwhile, the Delhi government started the work of supplying water to the apartments through water tankers.

Sudha Sinha recalls that period, “All new apartments were being built, schools were being built and government offices were being shifted to Dwarka. Water started coming from the tanker but there was a price for it, which the RWA had to pay The residents of the flats had to pay. The tanker owners also started charging exorbitant prices”.

protest against water scarcity

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protest against water scarcity

Dwarka sank 3.5 cm in a year

By the year 2004, Sudha Sinha and many people living in Dwarka like her started taking to the streets with their demands. The demand was only one, as it happens in the whole of Delhi, Delhi government should start the supply of clean water here also.

There were dharnas, demonstrations and there was even a demand to boycott the elections. But in the meantime there was a big concern on which till now very few people had paid attention.

Government reports were pointing out that the water level in Delhi is rapidly decreasing and Dwarka is also included in this list.

A research published in Cambridge University and Lancet magazine confirmed that the land in Dwarka had sunk down to 3.5 cm in 2014 and the biggest factor in this was the rapidly depleting underground water table.

After years of agitation, when the limited supply of water started by the government in 2011, by then almost every society in Dwarka had built tanks to store at least 100,000 liters of water in their campuses.

Meanwhile, the government also implemented new and strict laws regarding rainwater harvesting, so that water can be saved in every apartment, market or any campus so that the groundwater level can be improved.

According to Anjan Chatterjee, former director general of the Geological Survey of India, “It was good news for a hydrogeologist like me. In this way, the rising level of ground water, reducing the pressure on the ground and causing the soil to swell, help in preventing the subsidence.” indicating that the subsidence may have stopped”.

By 2016, almost all borewells in Dwarka were being closed and dependence on underground water was decreasing.

Water was supplied to the apartments of Dwarka through tankers.

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Water was supplied to the apartments of Dwarka through tankers.


Subsidence up to 11 cm every year in the areas

On the one hand, the government campaign to close the borewells was going on, while on the other hand, the civil community got united and started working on sources to store water and recharge the groundwater.

Reviving the 200-year-old Naya Jhod lake spread over 119 acres was an important step in this.

Experts feel that rainwater harvesting can not only reduce the gap between demand and supply of water, but can also increase awareness about the use of water among common citizens.

According to Ankit Srivastava, Advisor, Hydraulics and Water Bodies, Delhi Jal Board, “We have raised the ground water table in the area from 20 to 16 metres, giving a new life to the dried up lakes, ponds and water bodies”.

According to him, “It was also decided that only that water would be used for irrigation in public parks and open fields, which is being brought back after being cleaned from the sewage treatment plant. Due to this, there was a complete ban on boring in the parks.” “.

Through satellite tracking, the falling water level of Delhi between 2014-2020 was made a part of their primary research by researchers from Cambridge University and IIT Mumbai.

Shagun Garg, one of the scientists, told the BBC, “We have established through InSAR technology, that is, satellite images, that while areas like Kapashera-Faridabad saw land subsidence ranging from 11 to 4 centimeters annually, Dwarka saw it.” Turned around and did better”.

There are many areas of Delhi where water is not supplied through taps.

Getty Images

There are many areas of Delhi where water is not supplied through taps.

Earth sinking due to exploitation of water

According to urban planner Vikas Kanojia, “If we commit to storing water in open spaces, not creating pressure on them and giving a new lease of life to drying up ponds, canals and wells, then everyone’s life will be better”.

By the way, if we look at the statistics of rainfall in Delhi, between 1984 and 2017, not only did the area receive less water, but the underground water supply also decreased.

Delhi is situated on the banks of river Yamuna, so the soil here is sandy and there is pressure on it from the growing population. The opposite effect of the ground water released in an unaccountable way is also visible because the ground has started sinking in some areas.

Because India is an agricultural country, which is extracting more water from the ground even after merging America and China in the current situation.

Experts say that due to the continuous decrease in the ground water level, there have been incidents of land subsidence in Delhi.

Getty Images

Experts say that due to the continuous decrease in the ground water level, there have been incidents of land subsidence in Delhi.

According to Jagadish Kumaraswamy, dean of the Indian Institute of Human Settlements, “Soil subsidence can be seen in many cities of India because the rate of water withdrawal from the ground is higher than the rate of rain water percolating into the ground.” can reach twice as much.”

Researchers from Cambridge University and IIT Bombay have also emphasized this time in their research that the area of ​​about 100 square kilometers of Delhi is slowly but surely sinking.

The disaster in Joshimath, Uttarakhand has suddenly raised the question of dependence on nature.

Professor Rutul Joshi of Ahmedabad’s CEPT University believes that, “The right method should be adopted for the development of cities. The water inside the ground is a blessing for us.”

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