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Delhi water crisis: SC directs Haryana to facilitate flow of surplus water released by Himachal to Delhi

The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the state of Himachal Pradesh to release 137 cusecs of surplus water available with it and directed the Haryana government to facilitate the flow of the surplus water from Hathnikund barrage to Wazirabad uninterruptedly to Delhi to mitigate the drinking water crisis in the national capital.

A vacation bench of Justices Prashant Kumar Mishra and KV Viswanathan asked Himachal Pradesh to release surplus water on June 7 with prior intimation to Haryana.

The court asked the Upper Yamuna River Board (UYRB) to measure water released by Himachal Pradesh at Hathnikund in Haryana.

Haryana should not obstruct the onward flow of water to Delhi from Himachal but should instead facilitate the same, the bench said.

The apex court said, “Considering the urgency, we direct Himachal Pradesh to release 137 cusecs water from upstream so water reaches Hathnikund barrage and reaches Delhi through Wazirabad. The surplus water shall be released by the State of Himachal Pradesh tomorrow with prior intimation. The State of Haryana shall facilitate the flow of water from Hathnikund to Wazirabad so it reaches Delhi without obstruction so the residents get drinking water.”

The bench sought a status report in this regard by Monday.

Amid the water shortage in the national capital, the Delhi government had approached the Supreme Court to get immediate additional water from neighbouring Haryana.

Delhi government in its plea said that it is constrained to file the petition on account of the acute shortage of water being faced by the people of of Delhi, triggered by the ongoing severe heat conditions in North India, particularly in Delhi.

The record-high temperatures and heatwave in Delhi, which has resulted in maximum temperature rising up to around 50 degrees Celsius at some places, have caused an extraordinary and excessive surge in water demand in the city, it said.

As a result, the national capital is dealing with a water shortage which has led to frequent supply cuts in many parts of the NCT of Delhi, and has disrupted the daily life of the ordinary residents, added the plea.

It further stated, “The Government of NCT of Delhi has taken all administrative measures to ensure optimisation, rationing and targeted supply of water in the national capital; yet, the shortage of water remains acute and it is clear, by all indicators, that the NCT of Delhi is in dire need of additional water.”

It said that in order to deal with this unanticipated demand in the summer months, the Delhi government has already devised a solution to meet the increased demand for water in the national capital — the State of Himachal Pradesh, has agreed to share its surplus water with Delhi.

“Himachal Pradesh does not share a physical boundary with the NCT of Delhi. Therefore, the excess /surplus water released by Himachal Pradesh has to be transported through the existing water channels/river systems in Haryana and released to Delhi at the Wazirabad barrage. Therefore, Haryana’s facilitation and cooperation, which is not being provided as on date, is imperative,” the petition stated.

Delhi government said that it has already raised the issue of unrelenting heat and the consequent water crisis in the national capital with Haryana and has requested it to release the surplus water in the Wazirabad barrage, however, Haryana is yet to accede to such request.

“Be that as it may, by way of the instant petition, the Petitioner- Delhi government does not intend to shift the blame on Haryana or any other State, and only prays for an immediate resolution of the ongoing water crisis in the national capital through the release of the surplus water — including but not limited to surplus water being provided by Himachal Pradesh in the Wazirabad barrage – by Haryana,” it added.

Delhi seeks this surplus release of water by Haryana as a one-time solution to redress the present emergency and resolve the ongoing water crisis in the NCT of Delhi, stated the plea.



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