Manage your sewage, CSE warns Meerut

  • New Delhi-based research and advocacy body, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) releases its study on water and wastewater management in Meerut

  • Meerut depends on groundwater -- inspite of the Ganga, Yamuna and the Kali Nadi in its vicinity. Ground sources diminishing at an alarming rate

  • Only 25 per cent of the city’s households are connected to the underground sewerage system. No sewage treatment

  • Industrial effluents being dumped into Kali Nadi is leaching in the groundwater, making it unfit for drinking

Meerut, July 20, 2012: Meerut has destroyed its river, the Kali Nadi, by dumping domestic sewage and industrial effluents in it. And the river is now taking revenge: it has contaminated Meerut's groundwater, its key source of water. Meerut is now literally living on its own sewage.

This is one of the crucial observations made by the Seventh State of India’s Environment report – Excreta Matters -- a study conducted by the New Delhi-based research and advocacy body, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). The study, which analyses water and wastewater management in Indian cities, finds most cities lacking a basic policy direction on how best to tackle issues of demand, supply and treatment of water, and of management of sewage.

Mritunjay Kumar Narayan, commissioner of Meerut, released the study here today. The release function, which was followed by a panel discussion, was jointly organised by CSE and The Neer Foundation, Meerut.

The supply-demand scenario
Meerut suffers from a considerable gap of about 81 million litres per day (MLD) between the demand and supply of water after accounting for leakage losses. Since 2006, the city has been extracting all its water from the ground: about 162 MLD was sourced from tubewells located inside the city. The Bhola ki Jhal or Ganga Nahar, which is the surface source, provides only 2.5 MLD..

The quality of groundwater, however, has been deteriorating due to leaching of untreated industrial effluents. The level of groundwater has also registered a dip.

The Kali Nadi river carries a heavy load of domestic as well as industrial sewage from Meerut. The river’s toxicity is so pervasive that it is leaching into the groundwater, rendering it unfit as well for any kind of human use.

Managing sewage would be key
Meerut is working towards having its first sewage treatment plant by this year, and a fully operational sewerage system for the entire city by 2024.

Currently, the total length of the sewer line in the city is about 132 km. The system covers only 21 per cent of the total area of the city. The rest of the sewage generated flows in the nullah and from there into the Kali Nadi.

"Meerut’s main concern in the coming years would be managing its sewage," says Nitya Jacob, programme director-water, CSE.

With sewage from 80 per cent of the city’s unsewered areas polluting its water bodies and with no sewage treatment facilities yet, Meerut is forced to look for a distant source of water. The production cost of water will increase as the city shifts its source.




Excreta Matters: 7thCitizens’ Report on the state of India’s Environment
News Clippings

Hindustan Times: July 21, 2012

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