Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding illegal extraction of groundwater by builders operating in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, 15/111/2022

Grievance raised by the applicants is that there is illegal extraction of ground water by the builders operating in Noida According to the applicants, the authorities have failed to prevent illegal extraction of ground water for commercial purposes resulting in depletion of ground water level in the area identified as ‘overexploited’ as per assessment of the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA).

A joint committee constituted by the orders of the NGT, July 5, 2022 after field verification for 33 group housing projects found that  25 out of 33 were found drawing water illegally.  The committee has recommended dismantling of borewells set up without permission, levy of compensation for illegal withdrawal of ground water. The Committee served notice on the project proponents but none of them responded except for one - M/s Gaursons (Gaursons Hi-Tech Infrastructure Private Limited).

The NGT directed sealing of all illegally operating borewells and recovery of compensation for illegal extraction of groundwater in the past "considering the cost of such water with deterrent element and the cost of replenishing ground water level."

The project proponents have to deposit compensation with the respective District Magistrates and the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board within one month failing which the District Magistrate will be free to take coercive measures including filing of theft cases against the projects extracting ground water without permission and stopping the ongoing projects, the NGT order warned. The NGT also directed the authorities to look into and regulate the use of potable water non-contact purposes for which non potable water can be used to augment availability of potable water for drinking. States other than Uttar Pradesh need to take necessary action on the subject by issuing standard operation procedures through their water resource departments and the SPCBs within one month. "The activities which need to replace use of potable water may be listed and mentioned in consents," the NGT order, November 15, 2022 said.