"We presented the factual position, which is, Haryana is supplying Delhi more than double its share of water." said Haryana Chief Minister Bhupendra Singh Hooda
After weeks of trading allegations and a two-hour meeting between the Chief Ministers of the two States on Monday, the ongoing water sharing dispute between Delhi and Haryana was eventually attributed to “heat”, “high demand”, “miscommunication” and “poor water management on Delhi’s side”.
If there was an agreement between the two sides, it could not be spelt out. Both sides maintained it was a “cordial meeting” and outstanding issues will be sorted through discussions, but no details were offered.
He refused to quantify the share and sidestepped the details of just how much water is Delhi presently being supplied and what is the quantum of the shortfall.
The explanation for the squabble over water he said was “the increase in temperature, high demand and population”.
“It is very hot and we all need water. We cleared some miscommunication, and Haryana has agreed that Delhi has a water crisis. We told the Delhi CM we will try to solve it. We have also suggested that Delhi should improve its water management,” Mr. Hooda said.
However, he was evasive when questioned whether Haryana will release additional water to Delhi to ease the water crisis that the State has finally agreed to recognise.
“We have told them that Delhi as per the 1994 Memorandum of Understanding was entitled to six per cent of the Yamuna waters, which is 238-250 cusec at Wazirabad for consumptive use,” he said, declining to mention the quantum of water that it is now receiving or even demanding.
On the contentious Munak Canal issue that has been hanging fire, Mr. Hooda said: “We have told Delhi that they have to first close the cut in the canal, and then we will release water from it. The Upper Yamuna River Board has also asked Delhi to close this cut and the Delhi Jal Board has not allowed us to do so.”
The Delhi Jal Board had made an intake regulator and a pump house on the Munal Canal at Iradat Nagar within the territory of Delhi to draw water for the Dwarka water treatment plant. Haryana has been objecting to this, on the grounds that Delhi will draw more water than its allocation through this regulator. Delhi on the other hand has claimed that it will use the water that it is entitled to from the savings made by switching to the Munak Canal. Delhi even offered to construct gates between the channel and the pump-house, allowing Haryana to control these gates.
Delhi has also been arguing that it will earn 80 MGD additional water as savings from the Munak Canal, of which 20 MGD will be used for the Dwarka plant.
But Haryana on Monday had its way and said supply of water through Munak will remain conditional. It also steered clear of discussing the issue of releasing 80 MGD additional water to Delhi when the Munak Canal becomes operational.
The Haryana Chief Minister also denied that he had earlier refused to take Ms. Dikshit’s call and said: “Delhi is the Capital of the country and I am also concerned. But Haryana is also part of the same country. We also have a water crisis; our demand has also gone up. Ms. Dikshit is like my sister and I respect her. Between 2005 and 2012 Haryana has never stopped the water supply to Delhi,” he added.
On how the water sharing issue escalated and why the Prime Minister’s Office had to step in, Mr. Hooda said: “The Prime Minister is for the entire country, he is concerned about everyone.”
Apart from the two Chief Ministers, the Monday meeting was also attended by the Union Water Resources Secretary. A statement from the Delhi Chief Minister’s office said: “Both sides expressed their confidence that the meeting has helped in doing a spade work, which will go a long way in overcoming the present situation. They were hopeful that the things will be settled soon. A solution is being worked out.”