SC notice on groundwater crisis in city

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre and Delhi government on a plea for metering and pricing of groundwater, saying its depletion has reached alarming proportion.

A bench presided over by Justice T S Thakur sought response from the Ministry of Water Resources and the city government and sought their replies within six weeks after petitioner Ramesh Ailawadi contended its excessive extraction and resulted wastage needed to be regulated.

The court was hearing a special leave petition against a Delhi HC order on April 9 dismissing a PIL in this regard. “Groundwater depletion is of grave concern, and limiting its use, metering it and charging against such water consumption will not only help the water conservation but will also bring revenue to the government which can further be used for other incidental activities by the government to safeguard the degrading underground water table,” the petition said.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner submitted that the government has completely abdicated its responsibility of regulating the usage of this precious and valuable natural resource.

“Groundwater forms part of the various natural resources that have been imparted to us by the nature. The government authorities are the guardian to such natural resources and, therefore, bear a heavy responsibility to lead the country in sustainable and equitable use of such resources,” he said.

“The alarming depletion of groundwater is asking for urgent attention, where its highly inequitable use is causing its severe shortage, because of which millions of people have been deprived of its access. The future scenario is even grimmer,” the petition said.

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