Delhi govt seeks LG’s help over looming water crisis | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Delhi govt seeks LG’s help over looming water crisis

Jun 10, 2024 05:18 AM IST

The Aam Aadmi Party also accused Haryana of not releasing adequate water to Delhi — a claim that the neighbouring state denied

New Delhi: The Delhi government on Sunday sought an emergency meeting with lieutenant governor VK Saxena to discuss the prevailing water situation in the Capital, stating that the Capital will have a “major crisis in next 1-2 days” if Haryana does not release 1,050 cusecs of water to the city. The development came even as the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on Saturday treated 993.44 million gallons per day (mgd) of water — below its targeted water production of 1,000 mgd, a bulletin released by the water utility revealed.

Delhi Water Minister Atishi inspects the Bawana entry point of Munak Canal in New Delhi on Saturday. (HT PHOTO)
Delhi Water Minister Atishi inspects the Bawana entry point of Munak Canal in New Delhi on Saturday. (HT PHOTO)

The Aam Aadmi Party also accused Haryana of not releasing adequate water to Delhi — a claim that the neighbouring state denied.

According to DJB officials, a shortfall of 1 mgd affects an estimated 21,500 people in the city. On Saturday, several localities in the Capital, including Ambedkar Colony, Chhatarpur, Mahavir Enclave, Satya Enclave (Prem Nagar), Kirari, Gittorni, Ashok Nagar, and Tilak Nagar, among others, experienced zero or low water supply.

Delhi water minister Atishi, in a post on X, requested Saxena to seek an intervention from the Centre in the matter.

“I have sought time from the LG for an emergency meeting, to apprise him of the inadequate water being released by Haryana from the Munak Canal. Delhi is supposed to receive 1050 cusecs of water from the Munak Canal via the CLC and DSB sub-canals. However, this has reduced to 840 cusecs. Seven water treatment plants are dependent on this water. If the amount of water does not increase today, then the water situation across Delhi will worsen in 1-2 days. LG is the representative of the Central Govt. I will be requesting him to intervene and resolve the situation,” she posted.

One cusec is equal to around 1.5 mgd.

Responding to the request, Raj Niwas officials said that the LG “will meet the minister at 11am on Monday”, and that Saxena, in the interim, has directed the officials to “ascertain actual position of water released by Himachal and Haryana, measures to check wastage and leakage of water in Delhi and the status of disilting of Wazirabad reservoir, as directed by SC [Supreme Court]”.

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Himachal Pradesh government to release 137 cusecs of surplus water to Delhi by Friday, while also instructing Haryana to facilitate the release through the Wazirabad barrage, ensuring the water reaches the Capital immediately to mitigate the shortage of drinking water.

However, the top court emphasised that there must be no politics over the issue, clarifying that the directive was made not because of the Delhi government’s arguments in its petition, but due to the pressing issue of water crisis in the national capital. The court also told the AAP government to take proactive steps to ensure water is not wasted in the national capital and that leakages are detected.

On Friday, Atishi had stated that the Delhi government will approach the Supreme Court on Monday regarding reduced raw water supply via channels. Haryana, meanwhile, maintained that the state has been releasing adequate water as per agreements, adding that the Delhi government was “lying” to “hide its failures”.

Hry not releasing enough water: Delhi

Delhi depends on neighbouring states to meet around 86.5% of its drinking water demand — through the Yamuna, the carrier lined channel (CLC) Munak, and the Delhi sub-branch (DSB) canals from Haryana, and through the Upper Ganga Canal via Muradnagar from Uttar Pradesh.

To be sure, even though the city’s targeted supply under its summer action plan is 1,000 mgd, the Delhi economic survey says the estimated demand is 1,290mgd. The demand-supply gap further widens and the system gets under stress during peak summer period. Data from DJB’s summer bulletins show that the season’s water supply level dipped to a low of 966.16mgd on May 27. Last week, the supply levels largely remained above 1,000 mgd, but slipped back to 993.44 mgd on Saturday.

Atishi, in a letter to Haryana chief minister Nayab Singh Saini dated Sunday, accused the neighbouring state of not releasing an adequate amount of water to the national capital via the Munak Canal, adding that the city is due to have a “major crisis” if 1,050 cusecs of water is not released into the canal.

In her communication, Atishi said, “Due to the deficit of raw water, our water treatment plants are unable to run at their optimum capacity… With the water from Munak Canal reducing to 840 cusecs, Delhi will be unable to produce adequate water from our seven WTPs... Therefore, I humbly request you to ensure that 1,050 cusecs water is released from Munak Canal for Delhi.”

She said that on average, the water received at the Bawana contact point even in the summers is between 980 and 1,030 cusecs, adding that this year, there has been a drastic reduction in this. “As you are aware, Delhi is dependent on water from Yamuna for our day-to-day needs. However, for the past few days, Haryana has not been releasing adequate amount of water in the Munak Canal. As a result of this, the people living in the national capital have been suffering unjustifiably,” she stated.

In response, Saini on Sunday said Haryana is giving Delhi more than its share of water. “If water comes from Himachal Pradesh, it will be given entirely to Delhi, and there will be no problem… There is also an AAP government in Punjab, and they (the Delhi government) should ask Punjab to give SYL (Satluj Yamuna Link canal) more water so that Haryana’s water shortage can be fulfilled, and Delhi also gets extra water,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party accused Atishi of concealing data while writing her letter to Saini.

“Atishi, while writing the letter, cleverly concealed the data of water drawn directly from the Yamuna River by the Delhi Jal Board to show a shortage. On June 8, Delhi was supposed to receive 547 mgd of water from Haryana but actually received 622 mgd. Delhi Jal Board’s own data makes it clear that Haryana is consistently supplying the full amount of water to Delhi,” Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva said.

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