Sewerage Sector in The National Capital Region

Sewerage is the core element of physical infrastructure that determines the environmental status of any settlement and as such requires minute planning, development and management. Development of appropriate sewage carriage system with efficient treatment is the key element, which acts as a prerequisite for facilitating balanced and harmonized development. Augmentation of existing inadequate systems/treatment facilities as well as adoption of new technologies of waste treatment for small and marginal settlements and rural areas presents a gigantic task demanding special efforts.

In the Regional Plan-2001, it has been proposed that the DMA and priority towns should treat sewage before it is discharged into the watercourses or on land or used for irrigation. The other towns where it is not possible to provide a proper system due to topography and for want of resources, low cost sanitation measures may be adopted which can be replaced by regular sewage system subsequently. Sewage should be treated to bring the pollution level to permissible limits as stipulated by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Pollution Control Boards irrespective of the type of disposal of the sewage. As far as possible, areas where the annual rainfall exceeds 75 cm, separate systems for sewage and storm water are recommended. Rural areas, where piped water supply system exists, should be provided with sewerage system with treatment facilities. Low cost sanitation measures such as sanitary latrines with septic tanks and soak pit should be provided in the villages with hand-pumps based water supply.

A review of Regional Plan-2001 was done in the year 1999, in which it was observed that only 20% towns of NCR were covered with partial sewerage system, while the rural areas did not have any access to such facilities. Since the last decade, no major progress has been made with regard to sewage treatment plants. The rivers (mainly Yamuna) and various seasonal streams had been converted into “Nallahs” which carry untreated sullage polluting downstream areas. Some newly developed urban areas namely Faridabad, Gurgaon (in Haryana) and NOIDA (in U.P.) have installed sewage treatment plants provided by development authorities but reportedly not fully functional due to a variety of reasons.

Existing Situation and Issues

Recent studies reveal that at present barring Delhi, where 80% population is covered under sewerage and 1,500 mld of waste water is being treated, the sewerage cover ranges from 30 to 70% in U.P. and 60% to 80% in Haryana in the DMA (now CNCR) towns only. Among the CNCR towns, treatment facilities are available in Faridabad, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and NOIDA. No sewerage treatment facility is available in any of the priority towns of U.P. Sub-region or Rajasthan Sub-region. Coverage of sewerage system in various priority towns ranges from 40.0% to 70.0% in Haryana, 3.0% to 5.0 % in Rajasthan and 0.0% to 30% in Uttar Pradesh. Status of availability of sewerage system and treatment facilities in some of the NCR towns in the year 2000 is given at Annexure 9/I in the RP-2021 document. Not enough database is available to determine the position of sanitation in rural areas. However, the overall picture is dismal. High incidence of water borne diseases in NCR is indicative of the poor state of sanitation in the region.

Policies and Proposals (RP – 2021)

In order to improve the overall situation in the National Capital Region for the harmonized and balanced development for the perspective 2021 following policies and strategies are proposed:

Preparation of Master Plan for Sewerage System and its Treatment

Norms and standards provided in the CPHEEO Manual for sewerage and its treatment should be followed.

Rehabilitation/Augmentation of Sewerage System and Treatment Facilities

Poor condition of existing sewerage system in townships/cities should be rehabilitated and wherever, this facility is not available or is not up to the desired level, augmentation schemes, should be taken up. Since treatment facilities in most of the townships are insignificant, emphasis should also be given to provide the same, as per the requirement.

Operation and Maintenance

Operation and maintenance should be given priority by the local bodies using modern technology/equipments.

Policy of Dual Agencies

The policy of having dual agencies for the construction and operation & maintenance of these facilities in some of the constituent states should be discouraged. In order to have better environmental management and to avoid over-loading/under-loading of the system and for focused accountability, overall management of sewerage system and surface drains with its effluent treatment facilities should be with single agency in a given town.

Allocation of Land for Sewerage Schemes

Master/Development Plans of the towns and cities should incorporate land allocations at appropriate locations for following components of the sewerage schemes:

  • Adequate space for underground laying of sewers along roads as per standard cross sections.
  • Depending upon quantity of sewage to be pumped, land area for sewage pumping stations needs to be allocated. On an average, area of 0.25 hectare should be reserved for each pumping station.
  • 0.2-1.0 hectare/mld land area should be reserved for sewage treatment plant as per the technology adopted, keeping in view the size of the town/area.
Recycling of Waste Water for Non Drinking Water Use

All new development areas should have two distribution lines, one for drinking water and other for non-drinking water/recycled treated waste water for reuse. All the waste requirements for non-drinking purpose in big hotels industrial units, central air-conditioning of large buildings/institutions, large installations, irrigation of parks/green areas and other non-potable demands should be met through treated recycled waste water.

Creation of Mass Awareness

It is imperative to create mass awareness among public through mass media with regard to saving of water, waste minimization and utilization of treated waste water for non-drinking purposes.

Commercial Approach for Tariff

With the increased requirement of improved quality of life, Government alone does not have financial capacity to continue with the subsidies for improving the sewerage system and treatment facilities in the times to come. Commercial approach should be adopted by the local bodies for revenue generation.

Institutional Capacity Building

Institutional capacity building measures for management of sewerage system and sewage treatment plants in the towns should be done for efficient operation and maintenance of the system. Simultaneously, it should contribute towards improvement in the self sustainability of the system.

For more information on Sewerage Sector in the NCR, please refer to documents below:

Regional Plan Document on Sewerage Sector
Regional Plan Action Plan on Sewerage Sector

For perusing relevant ministry websites, please click