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Sunday, 22 July 2012

Revive Najafgarh lake to solve water crisis: Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage

Revive Najafgarh lake to solve water crisis: Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage

by Vineet GillVineet Gill, TNN | Jul 22, 2012, 03.41AM IST

GURGAON: With each passing year, Gurgaon's water situation keeps on getting worse. This year's water crisis wasn't merely caused by the seasonal peak in demand, but was also unprecedented in its intensity. 

The dry-run went on for over a month, and even today, the city faces a raw water shortage of around 20MGD (million gallons daily). Then there is the issue of Gurgaon's fast depleting groundwater reserves, which, in some areas, have plummeted to below 51 metres. This downward trend isn't easy to reverse, but some sort of start has to be made. And the local chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) says that it has just the plan to help Gurgaon meet its immediate water demand. 

The heritage body, which has also been involved in water conservation work, has proposed revival of what was once known as the Najafgarh lake. This erstwhile water body, lying on the northern periphery of Gurgaon, once revived, will be able to supply over 30 MGD of raw water to the city. Today, the catchment area in Najafgarh is dried up, and the regular source of water here is the 20 MGD effluent discharge coming from the Gurgaon sewage treatment plant. 

"Today, the sewage coming here to the Najafgarh drain is given secondary level of treatment to achieve the standards set by Ministry of Environment for discharge into surface streams. And then this water is pumped straight into the Yamuna river," said Atul Dev, convener for INTACH's Gurgaon chapter. 

At the site, there is about 3.5 square kilometre of dried up low-lying land - which was the original location of the lake. According to INTACH's revival project outline, this dry patch can once again be replenished. "The main idea is to stop the sewage coming from the Najafgarh drain, so that it flows into this low-lying area. Here, we will treat the water using bio-remediation, using various species of carp fish, which will improve the water quality substantially," he said. 

Once treated thus, the water in this new and revived Najafgarh lake will become fit for construction and irrigation purposes. "The water from this lake will take care of at least some part of the supply used in construction work. This will solve a huge problem for Gurgaon, and ease up the pressure on the other sources of water by quite a margin." 

INTACH has run this plan by the authorities several times in the past, and the most recent presentation was made to HUDA officials in November 2011. 

But the work hasn't as yet been taken up by the development authority. "The Najafgarh lake straddles both Delhi and Gurgaon, and our proposal is to implement the revival work on both sides. But the revival work in the Gurgaon area is way simpler. Here, the project can be made to work without incurring a lot of expenditure and losing much time," said a Gurgaon based INTACH official. 

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