Delhi Water Crisis: LG highlights problems of unaccounted water, leakage in meeting with ministers Atishi, Bhardwaj

- June 10, 2024
| By : Saurav Gupta |

Delhi LG VK Saxena says theft and unrepaired pipelines waste a considerable amount of water; Minister Atishi promises action

Amid the water crisis in the national capital, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena on Monday highlighted the problems of 54% unaccounted water and 40% leakage caused by theft and unrepaired pipelines, in a meeting with ministers Atishi and Saurabh Bhardwaj, according to sources at Raj Niwas.

The meeting, also attended by Naresh Kumar, the Delhi Chief Secretary, and A Anbarasu, CEO of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), focussed on the recent inspection of Munak Canal and the city’s water distribution challenges.

“The LG highlighted the problems of 54% unaccounted water and 40% leakage in Delhi caused by theft and unrepaired pipelines. Atishi agreed that the DJB would soon prepare a concrete plan to address these issues,” sources at LG House said.

As per sources, officials from the Upper Yamuna River Board (UYRB), along with representatives from the GNCTD and the Government of Haryana, conducted an inspection at Munak Canal’s head in Delhi on June 9.

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“The inspection confirmed that Haryana’s water supply to Delhi was adequate,” they said.

Informing about the inspection report, sources at the LG House stated, “It indicated that Haryana released 2,289 cusecs of water at Munak, with 1,161.084 cusecs designated for Delhi, exceeding the quota of 1,050 cusecs. However, Delhi received only 960.78 cusecs at Bawana, highlighting a loss of 200 cusecs (approximately 18%), far above the acceptable norm of 5%.

“This significant water loss was also discussed in the UYRB meeting on June 5, which stressed the urgency of reducing water losses in the Delhi sub-branch, currently estimated at around 25%,” they informed.

“The Munak Canal is crucial for Delhi, supplying seven out of city’s nine water treatment plants (WTPs). However, a large amount of water is lost or stolen during transit due to poor canal maintenance and unauthorised tanker extractions,” they asserted.

“Saxena shared photographs showing illegal water extraction by tankers along the Munak Canal. Despite a heat wave, the average water received at Munak in May was 948 cusecs, and in June, it has averaged 870 cusecs,” they said.

“The meeting also revealed that it remains uncertain whether Himachal Pradesh is releasing the additional 137 cusecs of water into the Yamuna. The LG urged Minister Atishi to address this issue with the Himachal Pradesh government,” said sources at Raj Niwas.

“From June 1 to June 8, all but one WTP in Delhi operated beyond capacity, producing 854 MGD of water on June 8 against a capacity of 821 MGD. The Wazirabad WTP, which sources water from the Yamuna behind the Wazirabad Barrage, was the only plant operating below capacity, producing 119.5 MGD against a capacity of 131 MGD. The pondage area behind the barrage has shrunk by 90% due to a decade of non-desiltation,” they claimed.

“Delays in commissioning the Chandrawal and Dwarka WTPs were also discussed. The Chandrawal WTP was delayed due to COVID-19, while the Dwarka WTP, originally scheduled to be completed in 18 months, is behind due to funding issues,” they said.

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Lieutenant Governor also assured that he would request the Government of Haryana to provide additional water on humanitarian grounds and address staffing issues at the DJB, sources informed.

“The LG advised the ministers to avoid blame games and work amicably with neighboring states. He pointed out that even with additional water from Haryana, Delhi lacks sufficient WTPs and capacity to treat and distribute the water effectively,” sources added.