Posted on March 14, 2023
According to DJB, the Yamuna water level was at 671.5feet on Tuesday compared to the standard 674.5 ft at Wazirabad Barrage — considered the standard for the river stretch in the capital.
Construction of bunds and illegal sand mining in Haryana is impeding the flow of water in the Yamuna towards Delhi, leading to water supply crisis in several parts across north, south and central Delhi, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) said on Monday even as the Haryana government rejected the charges and denied any illegal activity in the river.
DJB vice-chairperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said the water crisis is “unprecedented” since the current water levels in the Yamuna are usually seen in May.
“This year, the water levels started dipping around February 23, three months before the usual lean summer period, and if the similar situation persists, the water supply crisis will become uncontrollable in the summer months,” Bharadwaj said.
Giving a presentation to reporters about the ongoing crisis on Tuesday morning, Bharadwaj showed PowerPoint slides with satellite pictures and maps displaying bunds on the Yamuna. He claimed that dredging was going on in at least 32 locations along the river in Haryana districts of Yamunanagar and Sonepat.
For the past two weeks, water supply to Moolchand, South Extension, Greater Kailash, Kalkaji, Govindpuri, Tugalkabad, Sangam Vihar, and Ambedkar Nagar in south Delhi; and Civil lines, Model Town, Kamla Nagar in north and Karol Bagh, Paharganj in central Delhi has remained disrupted. Jal board officials have maintained that low water levels in the Yamuna has hit treatment of fresh water at two (Wazirabad and Chandrawal) of the agency’s nine water treatment plants.
According to DJB, the Yamuna water level was at 671.5feet on Tuesday compared to the standard 674.5 ft at Wazirabad barrage — considered the standard for the river stretch in the Capital.
The Haryana government hit back at DJB, saying the state was supplying water in excess of the water-sharing agreement between the two states. It said that the sand mining was being carried out legally by creating temporary pipe crossings without obstructing the river flow.
Bharadwaj, however, alleged that share of Yamuna in Delhi’s overall water generation has gone down from “40% to 5%”. He also alleged that with industrial pollutants being released from Panipat and Sonepat, the ammonia levels in raw water have gone up to 3.5 parts per million (ppm) — 3.5 times the maximum treatable limit. “Delhi is only getting drain water and Yamuna has been essentially stopped using a series of bunds,” he added.
Jawahar Yadav, officer on special duty (OSD) to Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, said on Tuesday that Delhi has a drinking water share of 719 cusecs from Yamuna and Ravi-Beas waters against which Haryana is delivering 1,050 cusecs of water to the Capital. Yadav also said that sand mining in the river was done legally in “non-monsoon season” in accordance with the government mining policy. “For this, temporary pipe crossings are provided so that there is no obstruction to river flow. We are not obstructing any natural river flow. Regular checking is being done by the mining department to curb illegal mining if any,” he added.
Meanwhile, Delhi water minister Kailash Gahlot reviewed preparedness for meeting the water demand in summer. “In the water deficit areas in Delhi, DJB supplies water through 1,200 tankers. In order to augment the water supply, DJB is working on boosting extraction of ground water in high water-table areas.”