Delhi Jal Board moves SC against Haryana over water shortage
The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on Sunday filed a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking directions to the Haryana government to release the national capital’s legitimate share of water in the Yamuna, the water utility’s vice-chairperson Raghav Chadha said.
“DJB has just now filed the petition in Hon’ble SC seeking discharge of Delhi’s legitimate share of water by Haryana which was decided by SC itself in 1995-96. Tough times in Delhi because Haryana has withheld Delhi’s water in an outright contempt of SC’s existing order,” Chadha tweeted.
Chadha, also the Aam Aadmi Party MLA from Rajendra Nagar, said Delhi is witnessing an “all-time low water levels in Yamuna” because the city’s water share is being withheld by Haryana. Several areas in the Capital had to go without regular water supply, as residents relied on DJB tankers.
On Saturday and Sunday water supply in areas such as Civil Lines, Karol Bagh, Greater Kailash, Prem Nagar, Old and New Rajendra Nagar, Punjabi Bagh, Moolchand, Jahangirpuri, Sangam Vihar and Tughlakabad remained severely affected.
Chadha said the level of the Yamuna at Wazirabad pond in Delhi has dropped from 674.5 feet to 667 feet, owing to the ongoing shortage.
Because of the low water levels in the river, which is a major source of water for Delhi, the capacity of the Chandrawal water treatment plant has come down from 90 million gallons per day (MGD) to 55MGD, at the Wazirabad plant the capacity is down from 135MGD to 80MGD and at Okhla Plant treatment capacity has reduced from 20MGD to 12MGD, Chadha said.
“Delhi is a landlocked state and does not have any water body of its own. It has always been dependent on neighbouring states to fulfil its water needs,” the DJB vice-chief said.
“The SC has been issuing directions regarding this to neighbouring states, in which it cited that the Uttar Pradesh government will be releasing a designated amount of water from the Ganga, Haryana government from the Yamuna, and the Punjab government from the Bhakra Nangal Dam. These have been signed and agreed upon by the state governments. And under these, water is supplied to Delhi till date,” he added.
Responding to Chadha’s allegations, Haryana government officials said that the Delhi government should take measures to plug leakages in their water supply chain instead of blaming them for the water shortage in the Capital.
“The Delhi government has moved the Supreme Court on a number of occasions in the past as well but the apex court never said Haryana was not supplying water to Delhi as per the allocation. Keeping in view the fact that Delhi is the national capital and a populous city, not only the present government but successive regimes in Haryana have released more than the Delhi’s allocated share in Yamuna. There is no question of not releasing Delhi’s allocated share of water,” said Vinod Mehta, principal media advisor to Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
In a separate statement, the state government said the water level in Yamuna is low because of the delay in monsoon. “The people of Delhi are facing scarcity of water as there is less water in the Yamuna due to delay in monsoon and due to poor system of water management in Delhi. The truth is that despite 40% less water in the Yamuna, Haryana has been supplying Delhi’s share,” the Haryana government said.
The state government said Delhi has a share of 719 cusecs of water at Munak canal from Yamuna and Ravi Beas waters and 330 cusecs extra Yamuna water is being released by Haryana at Munak as per Supreme Court orders.
The Yamuna and the Ganga are Delhi’s two major sources of water, together accounting for nearly 90% of the city’s water supply. The rest is covered by ground water. Of the 10 treatment plants run by DJB, the Sonia Vihar and Bhagirathi WTPs in east Delhi get raw water from the Ganga through pipelines originating in Muradnagar in UP, while eight others rely on the Yamuna and ground water supply.
Residents said the crippling shortage of water hit them hard, a problem exacerbated by the humid spell of weather in the Capital, which has yet to receive any monsoon showers.
Karan Singh, a resident of old Rajendra Nagar, said the area has not received water supply since Saturday morning. “We are a group of IAS aspirants staying together, and it becomes very difficult to survive without water with so many roommates. The weather is also such that you need more water to get through with your daily routine. We had to call for a tanker on Sunday evening because we ended up finishing all our stored water,” Singh said.
Mithilesh Pradhan, a resident Khanpur’s Jawahar Park, said, “We are facing an acute water shortage for the last five days. This is the national capital, and even here we have to struggle for our basic needs.”
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