119 waterbodies in Delhi’s villages being developed as ‘model ponds’

A total of 119 waterbodies situated in the villages of eight districts of Delhi are being developed as ‘model ponds’. These ponds will have to meet certain parameters like no foul smell, presence of aquatic life and dissolved oxygen levels of more than 3 micrograms per cubic metre to become a model pond, Wetland Authority of Delhi said.

On the occasion of World Water Day, officials said that the land-owning agencies were developing these ponds after the revenue department identified them.

The wetland authority has prepared and sent benchmarks to district magistrates for restoration or creation of model ponds.

A senior official of Wetland Authority of Delhi said, “As many as 119 waterbodies are being restored as model ponds at village levels. No foul smell, presence of aquatic life, including fish and introducing turtles, dissolved oxygen levels of more than 3 mg/l and good surface water quality are some of the indicators of a model pond. ”

For ensuring protection of model ponds, the concerned RWA or village panchayat will constitute a committee to look after the conditions of the ponds. The committee will ensure that appropriate regulations on sewage discharge, solid waste dumping and encroachment are adhered to. “For conservation of these waterbodies, certain restrictions have to be strictly enforced like elimination of garbage disposal and spread of aquatic invasives, such as water hyacinth, will be checked by periodic removal, and appropriate use of the removed biomass,” said another official of Wetland Authority of Delhi.

The official added, “We have told the agencies developing these waterbodies that ponds should not be filled using groundwater and recycled treated wastewater should be used. Wastewater inflow, if not diverted, should be treated through natural methods before flowing into waterbody. Rainwater inflow should not have been obstructed. ”

All the model ponds will have signage indicating dos and don’ts. “The concerned RWA or village panchayat will conduct awareness programmes amongst the citizens on water conservation and the value of ponds,” said the official.

Of the total 119 water bodies, the highest (68) are situated in South-west district of Delhi, while Central Delhi district has the lowest number of model pond (one). Most of the waterbodies selected for developing them as model ponds are located on the land of block development office and remaining are of Delhi Development Authority.

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