Monday, Mar 27, 2023

Delhi Water Woes: Himachal, Uttar Pradesh 'Back Out' From Plans To Give Delhi Extra Water

Delhi Water Woes: Himachal, Uttar Pradesh 'Back Out' From Plans To Give Delhi Extra Water

The water shortage in Delhi has been reported for a week now with Yamuna's water level falling and alerts issued in 28 assembly areas, as per reports.

Water crisis in Delhi PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist

As parts of Delhi face water shortage amid heatwave and little rain so far, it has now emerged that Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have "backed out" from plans to give extra water to Delhi under plans that were pursued since 2019, according to officials.

Officials told PTI that Haryana is not keen to pursue a water exchange proposal with the national capital either.

UP and Himachal pulled out around six to eight months ago, said officials.

Delhi had a plan to exchange 140 million gallons a day (MGD) of treated wastewater for freshwater from Uttar Pradesh.

An official told PTI on condition of anonymity, "Uttar Pradesh said it could share 270 cusecs of water from the Ganga through the Murad Nagar regulator and Delhi had promised to release an equal amount of treated wastewater to UP from Okhla for irrigation purposes.

"After multiple meetings and field inspections, Uttar Pradesh wrote to us around six months ago that the idea has been dropped."

The official said the Centre was in favour of the proposal but UP denied it and no reason was given for their act.

Delhi also held deliberations with Haryana on a proposal to share 20 MGD of treated wastewater for irrigation through Jaunti and Auchandi regulators in lieu of freshwater through Carrier Lined Canal (CLC) and Delhi Sub Branch (DSB).

"Haryana has not agreed to the proposal yet. There is a very slim chance of it happening now," the official said.

Another official said the proposal for a water exchange with Haryana is pending at the level of the Upper Yamuna River Board. 

Delhi generates around 770 MGD of wastewater. The 34 sewage treatment plants located at 20 locations across the city treat up to 570 MGD of sewage.

Around 90 MGD of treated wastewater is being utilised for horticulture in parks and forests, irrigation and DTC depots. The capital is obligated to release 267 MGD of treated wastewater into the Yamuna to maintain the environmental flow.

In December 2019, Himachal Pradesh signed an MoU to sell its share of Yamuna water to Delhi at Rs 21 crore per annum. Water had to be delivered at Tajewala (in Haryana's Yamuna Nagar district) to Delhi.

According to a statement released at that time, Himachal Pradesh was supposed to "provide regular, daily supply of 368 cusecs (198 MGD) from November to February and 268 cusecs (144 MGD) from March to June every year". 

According to a multi-state agreement signed in 1994, Himachal Pradesh gets a three per cent share of Yamuna water. This share has remained unclaimed since then.

It was Haryana which had first opposed the Himachal Pradesh's plan to sell its share of Yamuna water to Delhi. Haryana contended that its "canals did not have the capacity to carry extra water from Himachal Pradesh to Delhi", another official said. 

Thereafter, Himachal Pradesh also "backed out" from the agreement around six months ago.

An official said, "Our engineers worked really hard to turn these plans into reality, but the neighbouring states backed out due to political reasons."  

Delhi requires around 1,200 MGD of water, while the DJB supplies around 950 MGD.

Haryana supplies a total of 610 million gallons of water a day to Delhi through two canals — CLC (368 MGD) and DSB (177) — and the Yamuna (65 MGD). CLC and the DSB are supplied water from Hathni Kund via the Munak canal and Bhakra Beas Management Board. 

Besides, Delhi receives 253 MGD from Uttar Pradesh through the Upper Ganga Canal, and 90 MGD is drawn from ranney wells and tube wells installed across the city.

(With PTI inputs)