Appeal to Haryana for water on humanitarian grounds: CM Arvind Kejriwal

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Delhi’s water production has fallen by around 100 MGD (million gallons per day), according to Delhi Jal Board (DJB) vice-chairman Saurabh Bharadwaj.

Visiting the Wazirabad barrage on Friday, he said the level of water at Wazirabad pond has dropped from the normal of 674.5 ft to 667.7 ft. “There is only about 6 inches of water in the river. The depth of water in the river at the Wazirabad barrage is usually around 8 ft. Our pumps have not been able to lift water from the river and production has been hit. There is a shortage of nearly 100 MGD. This indicates water from Haryana is not being released into the Yamuna at all,” he said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that they would request Haryana to give them more water on humanitarian grounds. After a meeting with the L-G, Kejriwal told the media, “We will request Haryana if they can give us a little more water. Whether they are giving all the water… there is no need to go into the law. There is a shortage of water in Delhi at this time. So, if they give us a little more water, on humanitarian grounds, it will be good, since the level of water in the Yamuna has fallen. Let’s not go into how much is being given or not. Just that Delhi is facing a shortage and needs water.”

Temporary arrangements have been made to try and draw water from the nearly dry river. These include a dredging system and new pumps set up at the Wazirabad barrage. “Water at the barrage, which covers an area of 700-800 metres, will be collected at one place and then lifted using new pumps installed temporarily,” said a communication from the DJB. Sand is removed with the help of the dredger to create a cavity where water can collect at a depth sufficient for pumps to draw water from it.

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Bharadwaj told The Indian Express that the Upper Yamuna River Board has also been approached. “We have written to the Upper Yamuna River Board asking them to direct Haryana to release water,” he said, adding that dredging machines and pumps are only temporary measures, and that the situation is “extraordinary”.

“We have never used such measures before. This is historic,” he said.

Kejriwal also requested L-G governor Vinai Kumar Saxena to take up water problem with Haryana to improve supply in Delhi. Saxena assured the CM he would take up the issue at appropriate levels, said a statement from the L-G House.

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