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PMO steps in to resolve water crisis

NEW DELHI: As Delhi's water crisis deepened on Saturday with water production down by 55 million gallons per day, the Prime Minister's office finally stepped in and has asked the chief ministers of Delhi and Haryana to meet on Sunday. Sources said that principal secretary to the PM, Pulok Chatterjee, had to intervene between the two states to sort out the crisis.

Meanwhile, Haryana once again rejected allegations of the Delhi government that it has reduced water supply to the capital. Sharing data on raw water lifted by Delhi Jal Board in May for Wazirabad and Chandrawal plants, Haryana irrigation officials said that while last May DJB was lifting average of 210 MGD, this year it was lifting over 230 MGD.

Similarly, Haryana's data for June releases shows that against an average of 367 cusec in 2011, the state was releasing 575 cusec this year. "Last June, Delhi was lifting an average of 367 cusec and the pond level at Wazirabad was maintained at 672.8 feet. This year we are supplying 175 cusec more and Delhi is alleging that the pond level has gone down due to fall in supply. Delhi has stronger pumps installed in its plants and is drawing more than what it was doing last year. How can we be held responsible?" said a senior Haryana official.

DJB refuted the claim saying that despite the "more efficient pumps", they could only treat as much as the capacity of the plant and not any more. "This is a bizarre claim. What will we do with the extra water if we cannot treat it. The fall in levels at our plants is evident at the measuring points," said a senior official.

A senior Haryana Irrigation Department official visited the Haiderpur and Wazirabad plants on Saturday to assess the situation. He claimed that the pond level at Wazirabad had gone up from 672.4 feet to 673.1 feet and the reason for the pond level to have come down despite full supply was that Delhi had been diverting water from there to other plants.

Meanwhile, Delhi officials expressed fear that the situation in the capital was likely to become worse if Haryana did not immediately take corrective measures. On Saturday, the collective production at Wazirabad and Chandrawal fell to 40 MGD. "Earlier the production was down by 20 MGD at Wazirabad. On Saturday we had to curtail production at Chandrawal too. The pond level is so low that the pumps at Wazirabad are unable to lift water. Production at Haiderpur continues to remain affected by 15 MGD," said an official.

Areas that are affected due to the short supply are west, northwest, southwest, central and north Delhi and parts of Delhi Cantt and NDMC areas.

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