Delhi on the verge of a huge water crisis

SUMMER WOES: Cans lined up by the roadside in the Capital on Friday by people waiting for government tankers to bring drinking water.  

On Friday the Delhi Jal Board sent out a warning. Its officials said if Haryana does not release Delhi's full quantum of water by evening, the city's water supply will be worse than ever. As on date, the DJB says its water production has been reduced by 45 million gallons a day and the pond level has fallen by over a foot at Wazirabad, which is also in contravention of the Supreme Court orders.

The Jal Board Chairperson, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, is also understood to have sought the help of law enforcement agencies to maintain law and order in the city that has been in the grip of a water crisis. “In some areas where water supply has been severely affected, tempers have begun to flare. In some areas protests spill onto the streets, resulting in a law and order situation,” said an official.

Since May 30, the date from when the DJB alleges Haryana began arbitrarily curtailing the water supply, the water utility has petitioned Haryana to release its full supply of water, sought the intervention of the Prime Minister's Office, gone knocking to the Upper Yamuna River Board (under the Union Water Resources Ministry), scheduled a meeting of the Chief Ministers of both States, where a letter was handed over to Haryana and discussed the issue at the meeting of the two state Chief Secretaries.

The result, the DJB says has been “disappointing, with no change in the situation.”

“We have exhausted all avenues of communication; the only option left for us is to finally approach the Supreme Court, because there is an order which specifies that Haryana has to release enough water as is necessary for maintaining the pond level at 674.5 feet,” said a senior official.

Asked why Delhi waited so long, given the frequent recurrence of the problem, the official said: “Seeking the court's intervention is the last resort. We were hopeful that Haryana would listen to our requests and release our rightful share of water.”

To mitigate the impact of reduced water production at Wazirabad, DJB on Friday began rotational supply of water. “We cannot allow only a few areas to face a water crisis. We have begun curtailing supply in those areas that were getting water supply without any glitches. We will rationalise the water supply till things normalise,” the official said.

DJB officials said if the production at the water treatment plants is increased, the pond levels will fall further. “In the past two days the pond levels have not improved, they have remained static only because we have not lifted water for production. One unit of Wazirabad had to be shut down because the water levels are so critical,” the official explained.

Water production at Haiderpur water treatment plant is already down by 15 MGD, affecting a large consumer base in North, West and South-West Delhi.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 12:48:01 AM |

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