Gurgaon has a rich history of Bundhs, dating back to the post-Independence era. These were initially built to control floodwaters and manage water resources along the villages. However, as the city grew and urbanised, these Bundhs fell into disrepair and became hotspots for illegal dumping, encroachments and open defecation. This caused the once-pristine storm water drains or Nullahs, that run along the Bundhs, to carry grey water and garbage from neighbouring areas. In some places, these have dried up completely.
The Storm Water Drain Rejuvenation Project
The storm water drain was once a fetid, polluted nightmare, choked with non-biodegradable garbage and sewage from surrounding areas. In collaboration with the Haryana Forest Department and several corporate partners in Gurgaon, a
plan was put in place to clean and revive the drain. In order for all the plastic and other garbage to be removed, around 180 trucks of waste were taken out with the help of government agencies. Fencing and barricading were set up at appropriate locations to prevent any future dumping. Once the banks of the drain were cleaned, mesh was installed at the tunnels to block entry points and prevent the flow of solid waste and sewage into the drain. The sewage was then redirected to treatment plants.
This was followed by a plantation drive, where native species were planted to create a riparian system that is typically found in these parts of the Aravali. The main plant species planted were Kaim and Desi Babool, both very prominent species found in these eco-zones. Furthermore, more than 20000 saplings of native species like Bistendu, Goondi, and Chamrodh were planted on the embankments of the drain. A drip irrigation system for the maintenance of the native species was set up to allow effective watering.
The Impact Now
This rejuvenation project brought a host of environmental benefits. One of the most significant of these was the increase in groundwater recharge. By diverting and channelling the water flow in the right direction, the project ensured that the groundwater table was replenished and sustained. This serves the dual purpose of benefiting the community in terms of providing clean and fresh water and preventing urban flooding during monsoons. The clean-up of the drain allowed for the smooth flow of water into the Bundh and the planting rejuvenated the embankments, turning a foul-smelling health hazard into an aesthetic green zone.