Political barbs fly amid threat of water crisis in Delhi

Amid peak of summer when water demand in the national capital has risen up to around 1,200 MGD per day, the ruling AAP and the opposition BJP have launched political barbs at each other.

On Sunday, scores of AAP workers protested outside Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta’s residence, warning him to resolve the water issue with BJP-led Haryana government within 24 hours, otherwise, water supply of his residence would be cut.

The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) is governed by the Delhi Government, however, it justified its protest alleging that BJP-led Haryana is solely responsible for the situation as it has reduced supply of raw water to Delhi 100 MGD per day.

“There has been a shortage of water in Delhi for a few days, but the BJP leaders are busy doing politics. We have given BJP 24 hours’ time to solve this water problem and if not resolved, be ready to face cut in water supply,” said AAP leader Durgesh Pathak.

AAP’s protest came as a counter to the BJP as its Delhi unit head Adesh Gupta had on Friday warned of the water crisis and had warned that if the issue is not resolved, the BJP will cut water supply to the residence of Delhi Water Minister Satyendar Jain.

Gupta had also claimed that DJB, which was running at a profit of Rs 800 crore, is now in the red and in fact, on the verge of bankruptcy under the AAP government.

Meanwhile, DJB vice chairman and AAP leader Raghav Chadha on Sunday claimed that Haryana has been withholding Delhi’s legitimate share of water and that the raw water being discharged into the Yamuna by the neighbouring state is at an “all-time low”.

DJB on Saturday claimed that the shortage of raw water from Haryana has resulted in reduction in water treatment at Wazirabad, Chandrawal and Okhla water treatment plants.

“Raw water discharge through Yamuna by Haryana is at an all-time low. There is zero cusec release of raw water in Yamuna from Haryana,” Chadha said.

A DJB official said Chandrawal treatment plant’s production capacity has reduced to 55 MGD from its earlier 90 MGD, whereas, Wazirabad is producing 80 MGD compared to 135 MGD water before and the Okhla water treatment plant is supplying 15 MGD instead of its earlier 20 MGD.

As per the officials, at present Delhi’s water demand has increased up to 1,150 MGD per day, while DJB’s capacity to treat raw water is 945 MGD per day.

Officials in DJB also informed that at present, Delhi has been receiving 479 MGD against 609 MGD from Haryana. Besides, Delhi draws 90 MGD groundwater and receives 250 MGD from the Upper Ganga Canal.

On Saturday, Chadha had said that the Haryana government was solely responsible for the water crisis in Delhi as it had been supplying 120 MGD less water against the legally prescribed amount.

On February 28, IANS had exclusively reported that water demands in Delhi increase to around 1,500-1,600 MGD in summer months, whereas, the DJB at present maintains water supply at around 945 MGD after recycling the raw water received from multiple sources.

A senior DJP official had then said that DJB has increased its capacity for recycling of raw water received but there has been no increase in raw water supply since the last three to four years.

The official had also said that upto 10 MGD of water consumption increases every year in Delhi.