Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Union water resources minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Friday jointly inaugurated the project of underground natural water reservoirs to conserve rainwater in the Yamuna floodplains here.

Kejriwal has been monitoring this pilot project regularly, according to the Delhi government officials. It is the country’s first project of its kind, which has been conceived in order to tackle water scarcity in the national capital.

Speaking on the occasion, Shekhawat said: “This is a unique experiment. I congratulate you and I want this pilot project to be a success. In the coming time, this pilot project can become a Delhi model to be showcased not only in India but across the world.”

In this monsoon rain-dependent pilot project, artificial reservoirs of one-metre depth are being created in which floodwater will be collected. The water is expected to be gradually recharged. It would then come back to the Yamuna river through a natural process.

The success of this pilot project of the Delhi government could prove to be a “milestone in water conservation”, the Union water minister said. Shekhawat laid stress on not only the need for rainwater conservation but also on its “judicious use”.

CM Kejriwal said the launch of the pilot project was a very big occasion for Delhi.

“I am an engineer and I can say that science and technology can solve most of the problems of society. But this will be possible only when all of us work with good intentions”, he said.

Kejriwal said that Delhi’s pilot project for natural water conservation would show the way on how to resolve the major problem of depleting groundwater.

Kejriwal said this project was not about reservoirs near Yamuna. The Delhi government was creating natural underground reservoirs and underground water would be recharged, not the surface water.

He said a lot of research had already been done for this project. Many prestigious institutions, including the IIT-Delhi, had done research on this subject, but it was never implemented.

“No serious effort was ever made, but now we have decided to turn it into a reality,” Kejriwal asserted.