With the approaching summer, the Capital’s water woes are likely to be more pronounced this year.
Rickety infrastructure and inadequate water supply will make it difficult for the new Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to fulfil its promise of getting piped water to every household in the next five years.
The biggest problem facing the government and the city is Haryana’s refusal to give Delhi 80 MGD (million gallons a day) of additional water. This is instrumental for the existing water treatment plants to supply as much water as they were designed to.
According to Delhi Jal Board (DJB) officials, the body receives 835 MGD of water -- 755 MGD from surface water and 80 MGD from ground water sources. The demand, however, is 1,100 MGD. About 20% households in Delhi do not get piped water supply and depend on tankers and bore wells, said DJB officials.
Neighbourhood states have also refused to increase water supply to Delhi. Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has clarified that the state will not give more water to Delhi at the cost of its farmers.
“We have been in talks with Haryana but so far no agreement has been reached. Our infrastructure is inadequate and there are massive leakages. All these issues need to be addressed and we have already started working on it,” said a DJB official.
The ground water level in Delhi has also been going down. This means one would have to dig deeper into the earth to find water.
An analysis of the last 10 years shows the overall groundwater level is going down by .02 to 1.44 metres per year. Increased extraction of groundwater and reduced natural recharge are the main reasons.
The DJB has planned new water treatment plants (WTPs), additional primary reservoirs and pumping stations. Three WTPs have been built at Okhla in south Delhi, Dwarka in southwest and Bawana in northwest Delhi. These new treatment plants will be commissioned on the availability of water from the Munak Canal.
“Once these plants are commissioned, dependence on ground water in Delhi will reduce further,” DJB officials said. The DJB said 142 MGD of treated effluent from wastewater treatment plant was being utilised for irrigation, industrial and horticulture purpose to reduce the dependency on ground water.
One of the main planks that the AAP government came to power on was that of getting water to places where there is massive scarcity. The expectations in this regard, too, are high.