Delhi relies on drainage plan that’s 4 decades old | Delhi News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: The city’s drainage system can only cater to 50mm rainfall and anything more than that overwhelms the system. This has been revealed by a Public Works Department report.
Delhi received 69.6mm rainfall on July 19, 100mm on July 26 and 72mm on July 29. The normal rainfall for the month is 210.6mm, but this year 506mm was received despite the monsoon arriving very late.
The capital is still operating on the 1976 drainage master plan even though the population has increased manifold. Officials said the process of implementing the new drainage master plan was under way and inputs from drain managing agencies had been sent to the irrigation and flood control (I&FC) department, which is the nodal body. In all, 10 agencies, including the municipal corporations, PWD, DSIIDC, DDA and I&FC department, manage over 3,700km of storm water drains.
In 2009, the then lieutenant governor Tejendra Khanna had asked the civic bodies and all stakeholders to prepare a master plan for the watershed and drainage system. “The last drainage master plan was finalised way back in 1976. A new plan must be prepared keeping in view the fast-changing scenario of the city’s growth,” former chief minister Sheila Dikshit had remarked in 2012, while announcing that IIT-Delhi would be making the city’s much-needed drainage master plan.
Now, almost nine years later, the master plan continues to remain unimplemented, while the “fast changing capital” is being repeatedly brought to its knees by massive waterlogging even with moderate rainfall.
The report on limitations of the drainage system also highlights that areas like the Walled City have a system where sewage lines also function as storm water drains. In many cases, the colonies have expanded, but the drainage system hasn’t. At Pul Prahladpur, the excess runoff from colonies in a 4-5km radius reaches this site. The place was not designed to take such a large volume of storm water.
The Yamuna water levels are also linked with waterlogging. When the level rises above 205m, waterlogging worsens. Delhi’s topography prevents gravity-based flow to the larger I&FC department drains that carry excess water to the river.
A senior PWD official said smaller colony drains were managed by the corporations, while drains along roads wider than 60ft were managed by PWD. “The drains managed by the corporations carry excess runoff from colonies to the PWD drains that take the water to much larger drains like Barapullah and Najafgarh, which are connected to the river. When Yamuna levels approach the danger level, the gates of many drains are closed to prevent backflow,” added the official.
Interestingly, PWD has hired three divers to save lives in case of an emergency situation if vehicles get stuck in waterlogged underpasses.

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