Water crisis could have been avoided, say experts

At a time the national capital is reeling from an acute water shortage as a result of the Jat agitation in Haryana, experts said the water crisis could have been avoided had the Delhi government taken steps earlier to reduce its water dependency on its neighbouring states.

Delhi gets around 70 per cent share of its water from Haryana and also gets supply from Uttar Pradesh. Successive governments have been thinking of measures to reduce its dependency on these states to avert a crisis like situation.

However, according to experts, nothing has been done in this connection till date — be it promoting water conservation plans or finding alternative plans to get water from other states.

“We have said many times that water should directly come from the river and not diverted through a canal to reach Delhi,” said activist and Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan Convener Manoj Misra.

“It makes little sense for the water that the river was naturally carrying to be diverted into a parallel canal (Munak) to reach the same destination (Delhi).

“Water coming from river does not need to be managed by the government and frequent hassles can be avoided. Till it comes from the canal, there will be blackmailing by Haryana government or supply will be affected by these incidents (agitation). Even water quality will be better if it comes directly from the river,” he said.

Misra suggests that Delhi’s share of the Yamuna water should come through river, to be collected by Delhi at Palla which then is lifted from Wazirabad Barrage. The only obstacle is accessing and conveying water lifted from the river to Haiderpur treatment plant.

“But this is not something impossible. We had raised this issue several times but till date a situation like this (water crisis) was not seen but now the government should definitely think about this solution,” he said.

Misra also said that even other conservation steps like rain water harvesting and making reservoirs for storing water failed to take off.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during his first 49 day stint had said that his government was thinking of sustainable measures to meet the capital’s water needs in the long run, including water recycling.

“The government had space in north Delhi to make river reservoirs to use stored water in a crisis like situation. This was even a suggestion by the NGT but nothing has been done even in this connection,” he said.

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