Of the 1,012 water bodies in Delhi, as many as 349 have reportedly dried up and 165 have been encroached upon. These startling figures have been compiled through satellite imaging by the city administration’s Delhi Parks & Gardens Society. The society has also linked the entire database to Google Earth for better monitoring and upkeep of the water bodies.
As the upkeep of the wetlands rest with different agencies, the society has called a meeting of the officials of the city administration, DDA, MCD, NDMC and Forest department on June 17 to take stock of their prevailing condition and future course of action for reviving them. All the agencies have been directed to work out a four point agenda for revival of the water bodies. The agencies have to submit their respective plans on how they would de-slit the wetlands and later fill them up with clean water. Also, they have been asked to submit their plan on how they would carry out plantation around these bodies with future course of action on their maintenance.
At present, stench of apathy and greed is hovering over a majority of the water bodies in Delhi. Many environmentalists have time and again been raising their concern over the gradual loss of water bodies which are essential to maintain the groundwater levels. An environment department official said: “Water bodies are a part of the natural water chain on which an entire ecosystem is dependent. They contribute to keeping up a healthy groundwater table that has come under serious threat in the city.”
Such initiatives should be taken up in all cities. With urban India expected to see massive growth, revival of water bodies becomes an imperative. Since public authorities have been incompetent, only civil society can now force such initiatives.