New Delhi: The basement of Bhavana Gupta, who lives in the E block of Greater Kailash II, has been continuously flooded for two years. Realizing the danger at home, he recently contacted a structural engineer. There are many people like Gupta who are facing this problem at their own level because government agencies have failed. The Central Groundwater Board (CGWB) has warned of declining groundwater in many parts of South Delhi. In some places the level has dropped below 50 meters. Despite this, in Greater Kailash, Amar Colony, New Friends Colony, National Park (Lajpat Nagar IV), Chittaranjan Park and other places, it seems that the water is not much below ground. There is leakage in the basement of the buildings and the buildings are in danger.

Bharat Ahuja, who lives in the e-block, said, “The civic authorities claimed that the problem was solved last year but nothing really changed. In fact, things have gotten worse. Now residents of the adjacent CR Park are also complaining about the water filling the basement.

August 2020

  • Residents of Greater Kailash II complained of seepage in the basement.
  • Many homes have pumps to remove water.
  • Citizens also approached the Central Groundwater Board (CGWB), South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Delhi Water Board, Public Works Department and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.

What after October 2020?

  • The Delhi High Court has directed the SDMC to clean all the rain gutters in the area.
  • CGWB scientists conducted a survey and suggested drawing water from borewells in some places.
  • After joint inspection, DJB activated six borewells.

Why seapage?
In its final report, the CGWB listed three main reasons.

  • DJB closes all domestic tubewells, reducing groundwater abstraction
  • Construction of an Underground Protection Wall at Greater Kailash Metro Station, 32 meters below the surface, which reduces the flow of natural groundwater.
  • Heavy rains in 2020

What suggestions did you make?

  • DJB should use groundwater to supply E, M and S blocks.
  • Identify extraction points scientifically.

What do citizens have to say?

  • Tubewells do not run twenty-four hours.
  • Extraction points are not known.

Borewells draw water for only seven hours
Borewells were dug everywhere, according to residents. Gupta claimed that “the depth of the borewell is also 200 feet while the water from the reservoir was to be drawn at 18-20 feet.” The CGWB had suggested drawing water for 18-20 hours, but GKII Welfare Association President Sanjay Rana said, “Every day from 9 am to 4 pm water is drawn for only seven hours. We have requested the DJB to draw water three times more than now and lay a pipeline to carry the water to the reservoir.

A DJB official said such steps were being taken. He said, “Two projects have been approved to carry water from GKII to the underground reservoir. Work is underway on one, work on the other will begin soon. There is a similar problem in Kalkaji where Purnima Sethi Hospital has been submerged. SDMC’s multilevel car parking at Sarai Julena, adjacent to New Friends Colony, was completed in 2017 but is yet to be operational at full capacity as the basement is flooded.

AK Gosain, Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Delhi, said that scientific study was needed to understand the geographical location of the entire area. “The cause of water flowing in one area may be different than in another,” he said.

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