Since childhood I have seen water challenges of our city Faridabad like water supply crisis, choking sewer lines and water logging on streets which are almost the same but yes its magnitude and unpredictability has increased over the last few years and also the complimentary troubles like traffic jams, damaged roads, public nuisance. But what is the way forward to it, do we need to accept it as the urban way of life which is strangling our necks day by day or shall we pull up our socks to realize a dream of Faridabad which becomes an exemplary reference in the global discussion for water management and resilience for growing challenges of climate change and urbanization.
Faridabad and Delhi NCR is facing enormous water challenges such as depleting groundwater resources, acute water crisis in summers and widespread water logging in urban areas during monsoons. For last few years it has become a norm to experience cycles of water scarcity and water abundance with variable intensity and unpredictable frequencies. Why do we have thirsty taps when we need water the most during scorching summers? Why our sewer lines are overflowing during monsoons and why have we connected our roof top rain water to these sewer drains? Why our storm water lines are choked if at all present at few sections of our city? Why there is massive urban water flooding throughout the city during monsoons and why as a civilized society have we chosen evaporation and concrete pavers as our storm water management strategy?
Water bodies in almost all the growing urban centers in the country including Faridabad are vanishing over the last few decades of mismanaged development. High urban land value and encroachment are one of the major reasons for the fate of these water bodies which used to act as sponge in absorbing heavy rainfall in surrounding areas, recharging ground water and also act as water sources almost throughout the year. It’s astonishing to notice that engineering as basic as storm water drainage is completely absent and lying choked if at all present in some sections of the city. Connection of roof top rain water in sewer lines by residents has put tremendous pressure on our sewage system which goes haywire during monsoons because of enormous volume of rainwater it handles which it is undersigned to do so. There is lack of understanding for variable quality uses and differential pricing in our Municipal water supply system. Potable water needs is a tiny portion of pristine groundwater being extracted in unsustainable volumes largely for non-potable water and industrial needs which could have been easily met through supply connection of treated water.
Blaming and punishing traffic police for water logging, traffic congestion, or municipal workers for inadequate water supply, choked sewer sounds immature for problems of urban water planning and policy making. Some of the points in the above analysis itself have strategies hidden between the lines which need to be implemented through meticulous field study, efficient design and effective implementation. Some of them are protection and conservation of urban water bodies which have potential to become cultural artifacts and city spaces for public gathering. Decentralized storm water lines of 200-300 meters connected to road storm water and roof top of buildings finally emptying into a rainwater harvesting pit. There is no point in laying down kilometers of storm water lines and carrying water throughout the city, and also no need to build unimaginably large water tanks to store this rainwater when we have access to free natural storage below the ground. Water supply system should be redesigned with two pipes, one of pure ground water for potable or kitchen use and other of decentralize treated wastewater for non-potable and industrial use. There is a need for rejuvenating reforms to equip Municipalities exceptionally handle needs of our water supply, sewage and storm water systems.
Scolding and shouting at public authorities will help none except those few looking to materialize negative vibes of society for their own benefits. Such a venture to bring a remarkable change in water management at the scale of city Faridabad and Delhi region needs great magnitude of joint efforts of multiple stakeholders like politicians, bureaucrats, consultants, activists, journalists, contractors and public at large. Mass public awareness, training, capacity building, citizen participation and crowd funding is of critical importance. We as citizens of Faridabad should take pledge to resolve the water challenges of our city in its all forms and support such noble initiatives of Save Aravali Trust and other institutions to realize a visible change from upcoming monsoon 2017.