In 2016, Rajasthan faced a rainfall deficit of 20-60%, because of which 19 out of 33 districts were drought-affected. Water reservoirs, dams and hand pumps, either dried up or rapidly lost water, while the soaring temperature made the water crisis worse.
Against a demand of 600 Million Litres per Day (MLD), the current supply of water in Jaipur is only 440 MLD.
Baoris, stepwells and jhalars - groundwater bodies built to ensure regular and easy supply of water to nearby areas - were once a major part of Jaipur’s water story. However, today most of these have either become non-functional or polluted – pushing Jaipur into a major water crisis.
Pollution, falling ground water levels, unchecked construction activities and low rainfall are reasons Jaipur’s wetlands are fast disappearing; and so is its water!
Illegal pumping for irrigation, release of untreated effluents and solid wastes into the wetlands are killing the city’s lakes, reservoirs and groundwater bodies.
Groundwater levels in the city, between 1995 and 2007, have dropped down by almost 17 m – at the rate of 1.5 m per year!
Rampant encroachment has also taken a heavy toll on the city’s lakes. The Talkatora and Ramgarh lakes have completely dried up due to such activities.
The Sambhar Salt Lake, a Ramsar site spread over 7,560 sq km, is also seeing a steady decline in the amount of water that flows into it, a situation caused by encroachment and worsened by low rainfall and construction of dams and check-dams.
Out of the 200 MLD of sewage that Jaipur generates, only 89 MLD is treated.
The remaining 111 MLD is dumped into the Ganda Nullah and Amanishah Nullah, further polluting the groundwater sources of the city.
Around 3000 tourists visit Jaipur every day!
With a population of 3 million people, and about one lakh tourists visiting the city every month, especially during peak seasons, Jaipur has a very high water demand.
This leads to further groundwater extraction and sewage generation, putting more stress on the city’s already depleting wetlands. A thriving tourism sector also means that there will remain a need in the city to construct more lodging spaces – leading to more encroachment and higher levels of pollution.
This means that in a few years, Jaipur will be exerting even more pressure on its finite and (already) over-exploited resources - pushing itself into a severe water crisis.
In order to sustain its tourism and provide its residents with a regular water supply, it is crucial for Jaipur to protect and conserve its wetlands!
The Jaipur Government is planning to ban construction in the catchment areas of dams and water bodies and has notified the Prime Minister’s Office and Planning Commission.
It has also launched the Mukhyamantri Jal Swavlamban Yojana for the conservation of water, under which, techniques such as rain-water harvesting will help make villagers self-reliant, even during drought-conditions.
However, it is not only the government or NGOs that can play a crucial role in deciding the fate of Jaipur’s wetlands.
Click here to see what you can do to help our taps, our wetlands and our cities from running dry!
Man Sagar is an artificial lake situated in Jaipur. It was built in 1610 after damming the Dharbawati River.
The lake occupies an area of 1.21 sq km and was primarily constructed for irrigation purposes. It’s only source of water is rainfall from the surrounding Nahargarh hills and semi-clean effluent flow from Jaipur .
The lake has also been a natural habitat for more than 150 species of local and migratory birds, as well as, fish, insects, microorganisms and aquatic vegetation.
However, today, Man Sagar suffers from serious problems such as siltation and settled deposits, contamination from inflow of wastewater, decrease in surface area, eutrophication (excess nutrient inflow resulting in profuse plant growth and algal blooms), and loss of water due to high outflow for irrigation during summer
Chandlai is a 140-year-old inland water body of historic and cultural significance - proposed to be declared as a protected lake under the Rajasthan Lake (Development and Protection) Ordinance 2015.
The lake attracts more than 1000 local and migratory birds and is also a breeding ground for several aquatic, avian species.
Currently, Chandlai is being fed by the Amanishah Nullah and the polluted Dravyawati River. To maintain the lake and to conserve the fauna and flora supported by it, it is, therefore, being proposed that the inflow of polluted water into the lake be stopped.
The Ramgarh wetland is located a few kilo meters from Jaipur.
During 2002, more than 100 species of birds were recorded near the lake. Some rare, endangered, uncommon, vulnerable, threatened and near threatened species of birds have also been sighted here. The wetland was also a source of drinking water for the city of Jaipur.
However, unchecked development around the wetland has been responsible for the present condition of the wetland. These constructions obstruct the flow of water into the wetland, disallowing it to be recharged with rainwater.