Delhi moves SC for more water from neighbours

| | New Delhi
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Delhi moves SC for more water from neighbours

Saturday, 01 June 2024 | Rajesh Kumar | New Delhi

Delhi moves SC for more water from neighbours

Amid acute shortage of water in the national Capital, the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP Government approached the Supreme Court on Friday, seeking its intervention to direct neighbouring States, including Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, to immediately release the additional raw water provided by the Himachal Pradesh to Delhi through the Wazirabad Barrage, to enable urgent mitigation and resolution of the ongoing water and sanitation crisis here.

The plea, filed by Delhi's Water Minister Atishi, has made the Centre, BJP-governed Haryana and Congress-ruled Himachal Pradesh parties to the petition and said access to water is essential for survival and one of the basic human rights.

The move comes as Delhi grapples with a severe water crisis, which has affected millions of residents.  The BJP lambasted the Kejriwal Government, terming it mismanagement and an artificial water crisis created by the Kejriwal Government while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made an appeal to the BJP-led Governments in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to provide water relief to Delhi amidst the ongoing heatwave.

Highlighting the severe water demand caused by the relentless heat, Kejriwal called for a united effort, urging political collaboration over conflict while criticising the Delhi government, Delhi BJP president Virendraa Sachdeva said water crisis in Delhi is a result of mismanagement of Kejriwal.

BJP candidate from New Delhi Lok Sabha seat, Bansuri Swaraj, also said the AAP Government has created an artificial water crisis.

Delhi Water Minister Atishi has also requested the Centre to ensure a provision for the release of spare water from either Uttar Pradesh or Haryana to address the national Capital's unprecedented water crisis. In a letter to Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Atishi said there has been a drastic dip in the water level at the Wazirabad barrage during the last few days as Haryana is not releasing the required quantity in the Yamuna.

The water crisis in Delhi comes at a time when maximum temperature in the national Capital is inching close to the 50 degrees Celsius mark. The minimum temperature is nearly 30 degrees Celsius, 2.8 degrees above normal.

"Access to water is one of the basic human rights of an individual. Not only is water essential for sustenance, but access to water also forms an essential component of the guarantee of dignity and a quality of life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. The current water crisis, which may only get worse given peak summers and ongoing water shortage, violates the right to a dignified and quality life of the people of the NCT of Delhi, who are unable to access even adequate clean drinking water," the Delhi Government said in its petition before the Supreme Court.

Atishi in her plea, contending that the filing of "this petition has been necessitated by an acute heatwave and an issuance of a red alert in the NCT, with temperatures soaring to a record-breaking high of 52.9 degrees Celsius."

The plea reads that the Petitioner (Delhi) Government has already devised a solution to meet the increased demand for water in the national capital - the State of Himachal Pradesh, Respondent No. 2, has agreed to share its surplus water with Delhi, as per a pre-existing MOU signed in 2019."

It further stated that since Himachal Pradesh does share a physical boundary with Delhi, this water needs to be released to the national Capital through the Wazirabad barrage, which is located in the State of Haryana, Respondent No.1. Therefore, Respondent No.1's facilitation and cooperation, which is not being provided as on date, is imperative.

According to DJB data, there has been a constant decline in water supply over the past week, with the supply levels logged at 984mgd on May 23, 983.2mgd on May 24, 980.73mgd on May 25, 969.32mgd on May 26 and 966.16mgd on May 27, all below the 1,000mgd supply mark. The Wazirabad Barrage in north Delhi forms the primary holding area where raw water is lifted for the Wazirabad and Chandrawal treatment plants, but dwindling water levels have impacted areas that feed these plants.

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