Delhi's water crisis may worsen as Yamuna levels drop further, 2 plants hit
The officials said water level in the Yamuna has reached 671.7 feet, almost 2.8 feet below the normal levels of 674.5 ft at the Wazirabad barrage.
The ongoing water crisis in several parts of the Capital is likely to intensify with the low levels of water in the Yamuna affecting production of fresh water at a second treatment plant, officials aware of the matter said.
The officials said water level in the Yamuna has reached 671.7 feet, almost 2.8 feet below the normal levels of 674.5 ft at the Wazirabad barrage --- considered the standard for measuring water in the river. Water level in the river had started dipping since February 25, when the first alert was issued by Delhi Jal Board.
Low water levels had earlier hit production at the Wazirabad treatment plant, and now production at the Chandrawal plant has also been hit. While water officials say that there is no clear distribution of the areas under these two water treatment plants, they cover parts of north, south and central Delhi. To be sure, several areas in south and north Delhi such as Moolchand, South Extension, Greater Kailash, Civil Lines and Model Town had been getting water at low pressure since February 25.
A senior DJB spokesperson said Yamuna continues to receive poor flow of raw water from Haryana which has led to an acute shortage of water in the Wazirabad pond. “Both the main water treatment plants (Wazirabad and Chandrawal) are now working at low efficiency,” official added.
Delhi primarily gets 40% raw water from Yamuna through Haryana and rest from Ganga from Uttar Pradesh and Bhakra Nangal from Punjab. The Wazirabad Barrage was built in 1959 on the Yamuna in north Delhi and it forms the primary holding area where raw water is lifted for Wazirabad and Chandrawal treatment plants.
According to the DJB status report on Monday evening, the Wazirabad water treatment plant was operating at 60% capacity while the Chandrawal water treatment plant was working at 75% capacity. Delhi Jal Board operates nine treatment plants to meet the daily water demand in the capital.
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Of of the total 995 MGD (million gallons per day) of Delhi’s daily water supply-- almost a quarter of the overall supply (over 230 MGD) is supplied by Chandrawal and Wazirabad plants. “When the water levels go down in the river or we face increased pollution in the river stream, Wazirabad, Chandrawal and Okhla plants are impacted as they draw water directly from the river,” the DJB official added.
According to a DJB advisory on Monday, water supply may be be available at low pressure in Civil lines, Kamala Nagar, Shakti Nagar, Karol Bagj, Paharganj and NDMC areas. It added that the supply may also be hit in New Rajinder Nagar, Patel Nagar, Kalkaji, Govindpuri, Tughlakabad, Sangam Vihar and Ambedkar Nagar. “Public is advised to make judicious use of water and water tankers will be made available,” the advisory said.
Rajeev Suri, a resident of Defence Colony, said that some parts of the colony has been getting water at low pressure for the past one week. “In D-block lanes, we were not getting water over the last seven days. By Monday, we have seen only partial restoration of water supply,” he said.
Rahul Seth, a resident of Ratan Park near west Delhi’s Moti Nagar, said that neighbourhoods in Ramesh Nagar and Moti Nagar have not received regular water supply since March 3. “DJB should at least tell us when the water supply will be restored,” he added.
Atul Goel, who heads United RWAs Joint Action (URJA ) -- a collective of residents welfare associations --- said as the problem plagues the city each year, the jal board must find a lasting solution. “We face these issues every year. It has become a routine. Why is DJB unable to create a buffer reservoir for meeting such emergencies. They have also been talking about upgrading capacity to treat water with high levels of ammonia. But it has not materialised yet. We are not even able to use the water that we have,” he added.