Large parts of the city will have to go without water on Tuesday due to the alarmingly high level of ammonia in the Yamuna, which forced the DJB to shut down two of its water treatment plants at Wazirabad and Chandrawal on Monday afternoon.
The acceptable limits of ammonia in water is 0.02 parts per million (PPM). But on Monday, this level rose to 1.4 PPM. The plants will be restarted only when the ammonia level goes down to at least 0.6 PPM.
Due to this, water supply will be hit in central Delhi, parts of south Delhi, north and north-west Delhi and the Cantonment area. Even water tankers will not be available as the DJB had not anticipated such a situation and had not stored clean water.
“We are monitoring water pollution levels continuously. It cannot be said when the water supply will be restored,” said Sanjam Chima, spokesperson, Delhi Jal Board (DJB).
The problem of water pollution is not a new one.
“We have already informed the Haryana chief secretary about the situation. The problem seems to be domestic and industrial pollution in Panipat,” said RK Garg, member, water works, DJB.
Indiscriminate discharge of industrial and domestic waste in the Panipat drain is the root cause of this problem. The drain is linked to the Munak escape canal, which brings water to Delhi through the Yamuna.
“This problem did not occur in the last two years as we had stopped using the Panipat Drain (drain no 8) in which this problem was quite rampant. But as the water since the water level of the Yamuna was high, surplus water was drained through it,” Garg added.
The Wazirabad and Chandrawal plants together supply 210 million gallons of water daily to the city.