Parched Capital

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Parched Capital

Monday, 10 June 2024 | Pioneer

Parched Capital

The water crisis in Delhi shows no signs of abating, the SC’s directions to Haryana notwithstanding

The water situation in the Capital has gone worse due to Haryana’s and Himachal Pradesh's refusal to supply water to Delhi, especially during these sweltering months. The issue is especially vexed since a major amount of Delhi's water supply comes from these nearby States, affecting millions of people and several industries in the NCR. The Yamuna provides Delhi with most of its water, and Haryana is an important supplier via the Western Yamuna Canal. Himachal Pradesh, for its part, makes an indirect contribution to the river through its tributaries. The significance of upholding the current water-sharing arrangements among States has been emphasised and reiterated by the Supreme Court, the latest instance being less than a week old. This entails making certain that Himachal Pradesh and Haryana provide Delhi with the agreed-upon amounts of water, particularly during the hot summer months when the demand soars. The Supreme Court last week allowed Himachal Pradesh to release 137 surplus cusecs and directed the Haryana Government to facilitate this flow through Hathnikund barrage to Wazirabad uninterruptedly to Delhi to mitigate the drinking water crisis there. Meanwhile, the Delhi BJP has demanded a special session of the Assembly to discuss the poor water situation. The move would help the issue receive quick and widespread attention, guaranteeing that legislators and bureaucrats give it top priority and move more quickly as a result of this urgency.

With almost 35 million people in Delhi as of 2023, there is every year major shortage of water as supplies from Himachal Pradesh and Haryana dwindle. The Delhi Jal Board, the city's water provider, finds it difficult to maintain steady supply levels, which frequently results in water shortages and rationing. Both wealthy and low-income households face severe inconveniences because water is available only a few hours a day. The residents are forced to depend on costly, unhygienic and erratic private water tankers. Public health hazards are made worse by this water problem. The possibility of water-borne illnesses rises when there is insufficient water available, which affects hygiene standards. The city's healthcare system may be further taxed by outbreaks of cholera, dysentery and typhoid brought on by poor sanitation. To redress Delhi’s water scarcity issue, a multipronged response is needed to be put into place as a standard operating procedure. It is imperative that States stick to legal agreements and cooperate more with one another. Requirements for water infrastructure, such as treatment facilities and reservoirs, can be lessened with investment. Furthermore, encouraging water-saving behaviors and enhancing wastewater recycling might lessen the demand on the available water resources. To improve groundwater recharge, long-term initiatives should also involve rainwater gathering and the revitalisation of nearby water bodies.

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