Hardlook Yamuna pollution: People in Delhi should not draw ground water for drinking, says Kapil Mishra

High levels of ammonia in raw water supply from Yamuna forced DJB to close operations at two water treatment plants. Here is what is worrisome.

By: Express News Service | Delhi | Updated: February 1, 2016 4:54:53 am
delhi yamuna, yamuna pollution, hardlook yamuna pollution, Delhi jal board, DJB, WTP, delhi news Kapil Mishra, DJB Chairperson and Delhi Minister for Tourism and Culture

With the increase in ammonia level last week, how was Delhi affected ?
These two plants get raw water supply from Wazirabad. The water we get from Haryana through Yamuna is picked up at Wazirabad. These plants are dependent on water from Haryana through Munak Canal. The two plants provide 30 per cent of the total potable water supply in the capital.

Has there been an impact on habitation in areas near Wazirabad, along the Yamuna where ammonia level increased?
Since the increase in ammonia was temporary, habitation in the area does not get directly affected apart from potable water supply getting hit in areas which get water from these two plants. It is only when ammonia level increases over a long course of time, when it seeps into the ground water supply and people use this water that there will be an impact. Since there is an increase in ammonia only for 2-5 days, the surrounding areas are not affected. As soon as the ammonia level increases, we open the gates and make sure that water is released, and that it does not stand in that area for long. So, there is no possibility of this ammonia seeping into the groundwater.

Some studies have shown that in parts of Delhi, the content of ammonia and other pollutants is high. What are the steps the DJB is taking to tackle this ?
If groundwater in a particular area already has ammonia due to industries operating there or due to geological reasons, that is a different issue. The increase in ammonia level in Yamuna is a different issue. There will be adverse impact if this Yamuna water with high ammonia content is left standing at a particular place for too long.
There are many industries which are illegally releasing dirty water, it causes pollution in ground water too. However, DJB does not have a mandate over this. The ground water control board is responsible for this.
In many parts of Delhi, pollution has been found in groundwater and water bodies. We have maintained that people in Delhi should not draw ground water for drinking purposes since it is not fit for consumption. There are many industries from where dirty water is seeping into the ground. We will have to stop it, but DJB does not have the mandate to tackle this issue, it is with the CPCB.

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