Parched Delhi may go Singapore way, drink drain water

NEW DELHI: Soon,as is prevalent in Singapore,Delhiites may be consuming treated sewage water.Delhi Jal Board (DJB) officials say that the proposal,part of the water master plan 2021,could become necessary for the city in view of its dependency on other states for its water supply.Work on the master plan is already underway and it should be ready by September this year.

Senior officials said that technology was available in the market and that it was only a question of investing a substantial amount of money on the project. Bangalore is about to implement the scheme soon.Delhi has to seriously consider adopting it too.In future,when it wont be possible to build more treatment plants,when cost of transmission,land acquisition and pumping would get very high,we would be forced to utilize available resources.The treatment cost would not be more than Rs 40 per kilolitre.The present cost of water is Rs 8 per kl but if we add to it the added costs of transmission and setting up of plants,it works to about the same amount, said sources.

Officials said with about 350 million gallons per day (MGD) of sewage being generated each day,they would be able to salvage about 200 MGD for drinking purpose. The technology is already in use in Singapore,and Saudi Arabia too is going in for it.Delhiites must understand that there is not enough water for the fast growing population and alternative means would only include recycling of waste.Initially,we will begin with a small quantity but gradually try to treat as much sewage as possible, said sources.

Due to space constraints in the city,construction of underground reservoirs may also not be a possibility in future,specially in congested areas like the Walled City.In that case,the masterplan also includes a provision for microtunnelling as is done in Mumbai. Instead of underground reservoirs,we will bore tunnels for water storage.In Mumbai,there is a tunnel about 1.5km long and about 70m under the ground.In Delhi,that might be the only possibility left, said an official.

Sources also revealed that any future underground reservoirs would also be concentrated in and around west Delhi. First,west and northwest have water deficiency.Second,in view of disaster management practices,we cannot have all underground reservoirs in one area, said sources.

neha.lalchandani@timesgroup.com

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