By Praveen Dwivedi
New Delhi, Feb 28 (IANS): With no increase in supply of raw water from its sources for the last four years and a month-long closure this summer of a water channel that caters to 25 per cent of Delhi's potable water supply, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) is facing enormous odds. Delhi is fully dependent on neighbouring states for raw water supply to cater to around four crore people in the city as it generates only around 100 MGD from groundwater resources.
According to a senior official, the DJB must provide up to 135 litres per capita per day. However, owing to shortage of raw water supply, the target could not be achieved and it provides 100 liters per capita per day on an average.
DJB member Shalabh Kumar, told IANS, "Demand of water has increased to around 1500 -1600 MGD in summer months, whereas, the DJB at present maintains water supply at around 935 MGD after recycling the raw water received from multiple sources. We are already facing a shortage of raw water. DJB has increased its capacity for recycling of raw water received but there has been no increase in raw water supply since the last three to four years. But upto 10 MGD of water consumption increases every year in Delhi. It may be that water consumption may not increase in comparison to last summer as scores of people have left the city due to Covid-19, but still we do not have sufficient water to cater to around 4 crore people in Delhi."
Replying to whether the DJB has prepared any alternate plan to get supply of raw water when the Nangal Hydel Channel decides to stop raw water supply from March 25 to April 24, an official said, "We are in the process to convince the Bhakra Beas Management Board to postpone its plan for repair of canal for the next few months. We have also requested the Haryana government to increase raw water supply, at least during that period, so that we can avoid any major water crisis. But, we are yet to reach any concrete decision so far."
He further added that DJB has taken some initiatives to generate raw water on its own, through recycling and other processes but those projects are at the initial stage.
Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), a central government agency, would cut off 232 million gallons per day (MGD) of water that Delhi receives from the Ravi and Beas rivers, which is around 25 per cent of its total water supply.
DJB vice chairman Raghav Chadha had said a couple of days back that if Delhi faces 25 per cent reduced water supply, then several national and international institutions of importance will also suffer from a water crisis. This includes the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the residence of the Prime Minister, the Supreme Court of India, the High Court of Delhi, National Green Tribunal and the embassies.
However, a senior official in DJB said NDMC and Delhi Cantonment are bulk users of water and they may not get affected as compared to residential or any other areas.
Replying to IANS on whether the DJB has any emergency plan to increase raw water supply from other resources, the official said, "We do not have any emergency plan as of now, but we will knock every possible door to meet the requirement of water during the summer. We will take this issue politically, administratively and if needed, we will take legal route also to ensure adequate water supply in Delhi."
The BBMB is an agency engaged in regulating water and power supply from Bhakra Nangal and Beas projects to Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Chandigarh. It has members from the Ministry of Power, Jal Shakti, and governments of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.