The National Green Tribunal on Friday banned the extraction of groundwater by industries in the Narela and Bawana localities of New Delhi, PTI reported.

The green tribunal’s Chairperson, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, passed the order after the Delhi Jal Board told the green court that the industries, which sell bottled water, cannot be allowed to use groundwater due to serious depletion of water levels in these two industrial areas.

“In view of the above [the Delhi Jal Board’s submission], it will be in the interest of the environment that groundwater is not allowed to be extracted till there is an improvement in the situation,” the tribunal said. “Accordingly, we direct that no groundwater be allowed to be extracted till further orders.”

The Delhi Jal Board’s affidavit also said if “commercial establishments like malls need groundwater, then the competent authority should make them part of water supply chain with the condition of installation of water meters, and [prescribing] groundwater usage charges”.

In November, the green court criticised the Delhi government and the water board over illegal borewells in Narela and Bawana, according to a PTI report. The tribunal accused the Aam Aadmi Party government of “abusing” its interim order allowing industries to extract water and pointed out that it had failed to propose a plan to provide the industries water.