Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding protection and restoration of water bodies, 01/06/2020

  • 01/06/2020

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Lt. Col. Sarvadaman Singh Oberoi Vs Union of India & Others dated 01/06/2020 regarding identification, protection and restoration of water bodies in India.

The NGT in its order emphasized on the importance of harvesting surplus water during excessive rains from areas of catchment by enhancing the capacity of the existing ponds/water bodies, creation of water harvesting structures in the sub-watersheds to the extent possible, apart from setting up of additional water bodies and water harvesting structures wherever viable, utilizing available funds including under MGNREGA and involving the community at large at every level. Gram Panchayats can play an important role in the matter and once adequate capacity enhancement of waterbodies takes place, excess flood/rain water can be channelized by using appropriate water harvesting techniques. This needs to managed by the district magistrates in coordination with the Department of Irrigation and Flood Control or other concerned departments such as Department of Rural Development/Urban Development/Local Bodies/Forests/Revenue etc.

The district magistrate has been asked to hold a meeting of all the stakeholders for the purpose as per the District Environment Plan or Watershed Plan within one month. They also need to ensure that as far as possible atleast one water body must be restored in every village, apart from creation of any new pond or water body. Action taken in this regard has to be compiled at state level and reports furnished to the chief secretaries of the states by the concerned district magistrates.

A consolidated report of the state should then be forwarded to the Central Pollution Control Board by August 31, 2020.

In addition, all the states and union territories have to submit information to the CPCB on the number of identified water bodies, , location details, water quality status, compliance status with respect to designated best use, identified water bodies which require restoration, prioritization of water bodies requiring restoration and detailed action plans for restoration of identified polluted water bodies. The states and UTs have to submit the details by July 31, 2020. These reports would then be compiled by the CPCB and a report filed before the NGT by October 31, 2020.