New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS): Delhi is facing "a very serious water crisis" because of Jat protests in Haryana and water is to be strictly rationed in the city, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday. Only a handful of VIPs and essential services will be exempt.
"Barring (the) president, prime minister, Chief Justice of India, defence installations, hospitals (and) fire brigade, water (is) to be equally rationed amongst all," Kejriwal told the media.
He said he too would be covered by the water restrictions that he warned could last at least one or two days even if the water supply was to resume on Sunday.
The Munak Canal in Haryana, which supplies water to large parts of Delhi, has been shut down after it was vandalized by a section of Jats demanding job reservations.
Kejriwal said he had spoken to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the need to restore water supply to Delhi at the earliest.
"I requested them to please send the army (to Munak canal). They may be trying.
"But even if the water supply is restored now, it will take 24 hours to reach the water treatment plants in Delhi."
He urged residents of Delhi to "please save water", saying they might have to depend on the stored water for one or two days at least.
He added that water would be supplied through tankers to areas in Delhi hit by water scarcity.
Because of the water crisis, all schools in the national capital would be shut on Monday.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia added: "No water available now. Still no hope to get it."
Both Sisodia and Kejriwal said that if nothing was done immediately, "water supply in Delhi will face an unmanageable crisis".
"Delhi facing an unprecedented water crisis," Kejriwal added.
Aam Aadmi Party legislator and former Delhi minister Somnath Bharti added: "Receiving panic calls from residents (over) no water supply. Request (Rajnath Singh) to intervene and get Munak canal normalized."
Delhi's Water Minister Kapil Mishra had said earlier that seven water treatment plants had been shut in the city, and water supply would be hit, including in areas covered by the New Delhi Municipal Council, the civic body that covers the VIP heart of the capital.