Yamuna water level breaks all time high record, CM Kejriwal calls emergency meet

- July 12, 2023
| By : Patriot Bureau |

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal called an emergency meeting on Wednesday as the Yamuna water level breached the mark of 1978 triggering major flood alert

The Yamuna River in Delhi has surged to a height of 207.55 meters on Wednesday, breaching its all-time record level of 207.49 meters reached in 1978, according to government agencies.

On Wednesday, the Central Water Commission’s flood-monitoring portal reported that the water level at the Old Railway Bridge surpassed the 207-meter mark at 4 am, marking the first occurrence since 2013. It rose to 207.55 metres by 1 pm.

Officials from the irrigation and flood control department anticipate that the river will continue to rise throughout the day.

Over the past three days, Delhi has experienced a rapid increase in the water level of the Yamuna River. Starting from 203.14 meters on Sunday at 11 am, it climbed to 205.4 meters by Monday at 5 pm, breaching the danger mark of 205.33 meters ahead of schedule by 18 hours.

The river exceeded the evacuation mark of 206 metres on Monday night, prompting the relocation of people residing in flood-prone areas to safer locations and a closure of the Old Railway Bridge for road and rail traffic.

According to CWC data, the water level of 207.25 metres is the highest since 2013 when the river reached a level of 207.32 metres.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called for an emergency meeting on rising level of Yamuna in city, officials said. The meeting will be held at the Delhi Secretariat where senior officers of all departments concerned will be present, said a Delhi government official told PTI.

The Delhi police has also imposed section 144 CrPC as a precautionary measure in the flood-prone areas in Delhi. Thousands of people have been evacuated and shifted to safer places due to rising level of the Yamuna river in the national capital.

Speaking about Yamuna water flowing about the danger mark, Delhi Minister Atishi said that the government is fully prepared to tackle any situation.

“The Delhi government is fully prepared to tackle any situation. We are regularly conducting evacuations near the Yamuna River. Several embankments have been installed to prevent the breach of water. We are monitoring the situation continuously,” she said.

Meanwhile, India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted a very light rainfall is expected in Delhi on Wednesday and Thursday. With this likely to intensify to moderate rainfall in the next few days, the IMD has issued a ‘yellow’ alert for Delhi for the weekend.

The maximum temperature is likely to remain at 34 degrees Celsius on Wednesday and Thursday, the IMD said.

The sharp rise in water level was due to continuous rainfall in the upper catchment areas and saturated soil from heavy precipitation in Delhi and nearby regions over the weekend, said the officials.

They said that people living in low-lying areas have been shifted to safer places at higher altitudes.

They added 45 boats have been deployed for awareness, evacuation and rescue work and NGOs have been roped in to provide relief to the evacuated people.

According to officials, the Old Railway Bridge has been closed for traffic and all gates of the Okhla Barrage have been opened to release excess water and prevent prolonged high water levels.

They said that all district magistrates concerned and their sector committees are alert and are working in coordination with Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Delhi Police, Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board and other stakeholders to deal with the flood situation.

According to the CWC, the flow rate at the Hathnikund barrage increased to 3,59,760 cusecs at 11 am on Tuesday, the highest in the last three days. It remained above the 2 lakh cusec mark till Wednesday morning.

Normally, the flow rate at the barrage is 352 cusecs, but heavy rainfall in the catchment areas increases the discharge. One cusec is equivalent to 28.32 litres per second.

The water from the barrage takes around two to three days to reach Delhi.

The India Meteorological Department said heavy rain pounded several places in Uttarakhand and adjoining parts of Uttar Pradesh, raising concerns about a further rise in the water level in rivers.

The Delhi government issued a flood warning on Sunday and a second warning on Tuesday. Authorities have been instructed to stay vigilant and take necessary action in vulnerable areas. Quick response teams and boats have also been deployed.

Sixteen control rooms have been set up to monitor the flood-prone areas and the water level of the Yamuna. Diving and medical teams have been deployed with all the necessary materials and equipment.

Northwest India saw incessant rainfall over three days from Saturday, with many areas in Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan recording “heavy to extremely heavy” rains.

This has resulted in overflowing rivers, creeks and drains that have massively damaged infrastructure and disrupted essential services in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab.

Delhi witnessed its highest rainfall (153 mm) in a single day in July since 1982 in the 24-hour period ending at 8:30 am on Sunday. The city received an additional 107 mm of rain in the subsequent 24 hours, exacerbating the situation. The heavy rain transformed roads into gushing streams, parks into watery labyrinths and marketplaces into submerged realms.

The Yamuna river system’s catchment covers parts of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.

The Yamuna breached the danger mark twice in September last year, with the water level reaching 206.38 metres.

In 2019, the river witnessed a peak flow rate of 8.28 lakh cusecs on August 18-19 and the water level rose to 206.6 metres. In 2013, it reached a level of 207.32 metres. The river had swollen to  207.49 metres in 1978. (With inputs from PTI)