Groundwater in NCR cities has touched a new low as revealed by the Ground Water Resources Assessment Survey 2017 by Central Ground Water Board under the aegis of Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA).
It might be recalled here that all major NCR cities surrounding Delhi and including it, namely, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Faridabad , Noida & Greater Noida were since earlier times facing severe stress on groundwater resources and except Noida & Gr Noida all were already categorized as OCS or Over-Exploited, Critical and Semi-Critical with regard to fall in water table, however the 2017 survey all blocks of GB Nagar now also fall under OCS category. Ghaziabad municipal area that has been an industrial hub since decades has been declared a notified area since 1998 and now all its blocks also fall under the OCS category.
The reasons for this fall is not far to be found. Mindless water extraction by industry and builders in Noida and Ghaziabad and no effective curbs by CGWA has led to this situation. The worrying factor is that cities such as Baghpat also have fallen under the OCS category while many blocks in Muzzfarnagar and Meerut fall under the OCS category.
A recent RTI reply to CGWA has revealed that NOCs for groundwater extraction in OCS areas has been put on hold, however the CGWA has no effective grievance mechanism where illegal groundwater extraction can be reported. AS a result the NCR cities are staring at an ecological disaster in the making.
- G.B.Nagar (Noida & Gr Noida)
Dankaur- Critical; Jewar- Over-exploited; Bisrakh Over-exploited; Dadri- Semi-critical
Razapur- Over-exploited; Loni Over-exploited; Bhojpur- Over-exploited; G’bad Municipal area- Over-exploited; Muradnagar Semi-critical
As per a report by the UP Government the fall in water table in Gautam Budh Nagar is 117 cms per year while in Ghaziabad it is 97 cms per year
Pataudi- Over-exploited; Farrukh Nagar- Over-exploited; Sohna- Over-exploited; Gurgaon- Over-exploited
Faridabad- Over-exploited; Ballabgarh- Over-exploited
All Delhi, except Rohini and Kanjhawala blocks, fall under the OCS category as per the latest survey
Take the case of Ghaziabad. Water intensive and other industries are guzzling crores of litres of groundwater every year however rather than putting a stop to such extraction the Northern Region office of CGWB in Lucknow (read CGWA)—when asked through another RTI about the status—replies that “inspection report belonging to third party (industries in Ghaziabad) cannot be given without third party consent (industries).”
This kind of reply clearly shows the sway of industries over the CGWA. Many of such industries and infra projects like builder projects are drawing groundwater illegally wven when their NOCs have expired and many are drawing it without NOCs during construction.
The UP Government, now worried about this continuous fall in water table in several block/ districts is presently working on an act to regulate groundwater.
Green activist Sushil Raghav of Ghaziabad, who had gone to NGT against industries in Ghaziabad illegally drawing groundwater says that no kind of housing, commercial or industrial activity should now be allowed in Ghaziabad as the groundwater has fallen to alarming levels and for industries there is no excuse to carry on here.
Raghav also added that the assessment dates back to 2017 and hence The Centre and the state governments should immediately stop all groundwater extraction in these districts. He also said that he is writing letters to the CGWA, Ministry of Jal Shakti, DMs, to take action or else he would approach the court.
-By Prasoon Pant