'Better management in Haryana may solve Delhi's water problems'
“If water conservation techniques are used during irrigation by the farmers, a lot of water issues in cities like Delhi can be solved,” said Ramesh Negi, CEO of Delhi Jal Board.
He was speaking at a seminar on water conservation on the occasion of World Water Day on Thursday.
“Almost 90 per cent water is used in irrigation in these two states from where we take water. If the farmers use even 5 per cent of water for irrigation purposes efficiently like using drip water technology for the next 50 years, Delhi will not have a water crisis,” said Negi.
He raised the need for inter-sectoral dialogue. “First there is a segregation within states, some have lots of water, other have a scarcity. Like Mewat in South Haryana has a paucity of water, thus they use techniques like drip irrigation and sprinklers. North Haryana has it in abundance and they waste it,” said Negi.
He pointed out that there is a need to make the farmers in North Haryana understand their responsibility towards conserving water for South Haryana.
As a result, this will lead to Delhi having more water, he said, adding that the 'political dynamics' are tough in all the three states.
“The industries in Delhi make the Yamuna dirty, which goes downstream to UP in cities like Mathura. The UP farmers feel that if they give clean and abundant water to Delhi, they get Okhla muck and sewage in return. It is difficult to convince industrialists, farmers to find a solution and politicians rarely speak about it,” added Negi.
Talking about water in the cities being used as a commodity rather than a depleting resource, he said: “I get complaints that people in Vasant Vihar have swimming pools in their basement. They buy litres and litres of water. And the same area also faces scarcity.”
Sunita Narain, director general of Centre for Science and Environment echoed a similar opinion.
She said that apart from water wastage in irrigation, sewage in urban areas is a huge concern.
“It is sad that this generation has lost its rivers. Sahibi river is now called the Najafgarh drain, the government documents in Maharashtra show Mithi river as a drain. Looking at the condition of Yamuna, that day is not far when it will become a drain too,” said Narain.
She laid stress on the need to come up with sewage treatment solutions.