Business Standard

Delhi water crisis: No excess water released by Himachal, informs Haryana

The Haryana government claimed Himachal Pradesh released unused Yamuna water to the Hathni Kund Barrage without detailing their June water usage

water crisis, delhi water crisis

New Delhi: Residents collect drinking water from a tanker amid ongoing water crisis at Vivekananda Colony, Chanakyapuri, in New Delhi, Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Photo: PTI)

Nandini Singh New Delhi

Listen to This Article

Amid Delhi’s ongoing water crisis, the Haryana government informed the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday that Himachal Pradesh had not released any excess water intended for Delhi, according to a report by India Today.

Earlier this month the top court had directed Himachal Pradesh to release 137 cusecs of excess water to Haryana, with prior notice, to ensure its delivery to Delhi. However, the Haryana government contended that while Himachal Pradesh claimed to have released this amount of unused Yamuna water to the Tajewala (Hathni Kund Barrage), it did so without providing details on their actual water usage in June.

“Hence, the same be released to NCT Delhi in compliance with the aforesaid orders of the Honourable Supreme Court in the matter,” the Haryana government said in an affidavit.

The affidavit further pointed out an ‘anomaly’ in Himachal Pradesh’s adherence to the court’s directions, stating, “It was Himachal Pradesh’s case that it was ready and willing to release the surplus drinking water available with it. It was never the case that 137 cusecs of unutilised Yamuna water was already flowing from Himachal Pradesh to Tajewala.”

Haryana reported that it had sought information from Himachal Pradesh and the Upper Yamuna River Board (UYRB) to ascertain the amount of excess water reaching Hathni Kund Barrage. However, Haryana claimed that no substantial or credible information had been provided by the state in this regard.

“The state of Himachal does not have any surplus water because they previously requested additional water allocation from the Board. Documents submitted by Himachal Pradesh earlier showed that their water utilisation exceeded the allocation made to them,” the Haryana government said.

Why is Delhi facing a water crisis?

Haryana further contended that Delhi’s current water scarcity was primarily due to the city’s mismanagement, highlighting its failure to reduce distribution losses, control water theft (politely termed pilferage), and regulate per capita water usage, which exceeds the national urban average. The affidavit cited the Economic Survey of Delhi 2023-2024, stating, “The total distribution losses are about 52.35 per cent, significantly higher compared to 10-20 per cent in developing countries. There are substantial water losses at various stages of the water supply system, including treatment plants, conveyance systems, and distribution systems, in addition to leaks and pilferage.”

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MHUA) has established a benchmark of 135 litres per capita per day (LPCD) for urban water supply. For rural areas, a minimum service delivery of 55 LPCD has been set under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), which Haryana is providing as part of its water conservation efforts. “It is an admitted fact that LPCD in Delhi for domestic use is 172,” the affidavit highlighted.

How is Delhi managing its water shortage?

Haryana also informed the Court that it consistently supplies more water than its allocated share to Delhi and remains committed to complying with the court’s order.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the apex court asked the Delhi government to file an affidavit outlining the steps it has taken to control water wastage amid the water crisis.

A vacation bench of justices Prashant Kumar Mishra and PB Yarale addressed the Delhi government’s counsel, stating, “People are suffering, we are seeing visuals on every news channel. What measures have you taken to control water wastage if water scarcity is a recurring problem in summers?” The hearing will continue today.

The court is hearing a plea filed by the Delhi government, seeking a directive for Haryana to release the surplus water provided by Himachal Pradesh to alleviate the ongoing water crisis in Delhi.

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: Jun 13 2024 | 11:22 AM IST

Explore News