Millennium Post

Thirst Capital

Quenching the thirst of Delhi depends on the magnanimity of neighbouring states such as Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. To meet its future water needs, Delhi wants work on the three dams — Renuka, Lakhwar Vyasi and Kishau — to be completed at the earliest.

In 1994, the Bharatiya Janata Party led-Delhi government had signed an agreement with Himachal Pradesh, to build Renuka dam, situated in Sirmaur district, from where 275 MGD drinking water for Delhi was to be released into Yamuna river, from where it would flow to Haryana’s Hathinikund barrage and finally reach Delhi. While the Delhi government has already given Rs 214.8 crore to Himachal Pradesh to start the work, the other stakeholders in the project Rajasthan, HP, UP, and Haryana have been slack. Former chief minister Sheila Dikshit has also tried to resolve water issues and constantly requested the central government that work on Renuka, Lakhwar Vyasi and Kishau dams on the Yamuna be taken up on priority basis. Speeding up work related to upstream storage projects will help in the optional utilisation of river flows, particularly during the non-monsoon months, and also improve the ecological health of the river.

Former Delhi chief secretary DM Spolia mentions that though Renuka Dam has been mired in controversy, the Lakhwar Vyasi project has made substantial progress and Delhi is hopeful that the project will be completed soon. Besides Delhi, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh would also benefit from the project to be built on Tons river, a tributary of the Yamuna, which flows from Dehradun district in Uttarakhand to Sirmaur in HP.

Haryana is also unwilling to release the additional 80 MGD of water from Munak canal. Delhi is banking on the 80 MGD water from Munak, While Delhi had already paid Rs 414 crore to Haryana government. From this quantity, 20 MGD will be supplied to the Okhla and Bawana Water Treatment plants and 40 MGD to Dwarka. Delhi’s share from Bhakra Beas is 185 MGD and from Yamuna at Tajewala it is 165 MGD. About 13 per cent of this is lost enroute to Munak.

The national capital, Delhi, has a total area of 1,483 square kilometer. It includes areas administered by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation and by the Delhi Cantonment authorities. According to Census 2011, the total population of Delhi is 1.67 crore.

According to the status report of Delhi Urban Environment and Infrastructure Improvement Project Delhi-2021 (DUEIIP) only 24 per cent of Delhi’s population lives in the planned colonies, with 34 per cent living in jhuggi-jhopri (JJ) colonies and designated slums while the remaining live in unauthorised colonies.

In the current scenario, Aam Aadmi Party government decided to give 700 litres per day to the entire population of Delhi through the Delhi Jal Board free of cost. But DJB supplies 835 million gallons of drinking water per day (MGD), more than its installed capacity. Its treatment facility provides for only 544 MGD, while Delhi’s minimum requirement of water supply is 1,080 MGD. There is shortage of 245 MGD, that could be easily tackled by leakage control. DJB’s officials claim that the board has taken few initiatives to sustain and augment water supply. Recycling plants for waste water treatment have been commissioned at Haiderpur, Bhagirithi, Wazirabad and Chandrawal.

Sources said that 400 new water tankers with stainless steel containers have been introduced. These tankers are fitted with GPS tracking devices. An efficient mechanism developed by DIMTS is in a position to monitor the movement of these tankers to ensure timely delivery of water at the consumers’ end.
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