Cosmetic measures will not solve Vrindavan’s water woes

The biggest culprit behind Vrindavan’s depleting water reserves is the sheet piling done in the Yamuna as part of the Yamuna Riverfront Development Project. The approximately 30 mtr-thick sheet weaned the ground off the river, making it difficult for the ground water table to recharge itself.

Vrindavan 2022-04-28 (Vrindavan Today News): As the mercury soars, the water level in Vrindavan is dipping day-by-day. The holy town is staring at a difficult summer season ahead with most of its government facilitated provisions failing. These include hand pumps, water booths as well as the municipal water supply that has yet not begun in rural areas that were newly included under the Mathura-Vrindavan Municipal Corporation.

While commuters and pilgrims are forced to buy bottled water to quench their thirst, residents of areas that facing severe water shortage have resorted to tankers. However, there are still many who cannot afford to buy water, and are therefore looking up to the authorities for respite from the scorching heat.

The advancing summer season brings to the surface Vrindavan’s water woes every year, yet the administration has repeatedly failed to keep pace with it, and prepare in advance.

Of the nearly 350 hand pumps in the city, 100 are in a non-functional state. While nearly 50 of them demand re-boring as a result of dip in ground water level, others have gone bad due to lack of repair and maintenance. Absence of public stand-post water supplies, water booths and hand pumps on the Parikrama Marg is particularly striking.

There are 14 government-run water booths in Vrindavan of which 9 are not working. Ironically, the water booth installed at the front gate of the municipal corporation office also falls in this list along with others at bus stand, tempo stand, Buddh Bazaar, Ambedkar Park, Kishorepura, Harinikunj intersection, , Rangji’s Rathghar, and Banke Bihari. Moreover, only three of the remaining five that are functional have RO water facility. 

Rural areas such as Anand Vatika, Narayanpur, Gopal Gadh, Sunrakh, Devi Aatas, Badi Aatas, Goda Aatas, Dhorera, Banke Bihari Puram, Shyam Nagar, Hardev Colony, etc. that were newly added to the Mathura-Vrindavan Municipal Corporation have not been connected with government water supply yet. Either the pipelines have not been laid or they have not been fitted with taps for the supply to begin. According to the water works department (Jal Nigam), the project has been sent for approval upon the granting of which the problem will be remediated with immediate effect.

That said, all these ‘solutions’ being conjured up by the government authorities are but cosmetic measures. They ignore the main problem of depleting groundwater reserves in Vrindavan, the biggest culprits behind which is the sheet piling done in the Yamuna as part of the Yamuna Riverfront Development Project. The 30 mtr-thick sheet weaned the ground off the river, making it difficult for the ground water table to be recharged. The scarcity of water being faced by Vrindavan every summer, and going further perhaps even in other seasons, is a result of another ill thought and overbearing intervention with nature.

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