In a move which is expected to give a boost to the city’s water distribution system, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley proposed Rs 500 crore in the Union Budget for reforms in the water sector. Jaitley also said the construction of the long-pending Renuka Dam would be taken up on priority, to increase water supply in Delhi.
Delhi Government has already drawn up plans to streamline the water distribution system in the city as many areas still do not have piped water supply. A separate allocation of Rs 50 crore has been made in the budget to address long-term water supply issues in the city, officials said.
“This allocation is extremely welcome. It will go a long way in creating much needed infrastructure which is required to augment the existing water supply, besides providing piped-water to every household. Such upgradation of infrastructure is required to keep pace with the growth in Delhi’s population…This money would be basically used for upgradation of water treatment plants and related infrastructure, besides laying water pipelines,” a senior Delhi Jal Board official said.
Jaitley also said that construction of the long-pending Renuka Dam would be taken up on priority, which would increase water supply to Delhi. The Renuka Dam project envisages a supply of 275 mgd (million gallons of water) daily to the city and also generate 40 MW (mega watts) of electricity for Himachal Pradesh.
Currently, the average demand for potable water in Delhi is around 1,100 mgd and DJB supplies only around 800 mgd of water across the city, after treating the raw water in its treatment plants.
The demand for water is projected to touch around 1,400 mgd by the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan in 2017. Delhi relies heavily on neighbouring states such as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh for the supply of raw water. In fact, large parts of the city witnessed a severe water shortage in the last couple of months and people even resorted to protests in many localities demanding water.
Reacting to the budget allocation in the water sector, a statement by the Aam Aadmi Party said, “The announcement is flawed. Many areas in the city lack piped water. Even by the most conservative estimates, atleast Rs 3,000 crore would be required to lay down the network for piped water in just some parts of the city. Problems of water availability and its distribution network cannot be solved by mere token steps. AAP demands that water should be made available for free in Delhi.”
Meanwhile, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) president Arvinder Singh said, “Delhi’s people have been misled on both power and water issues, and the budget has made no provision for the development of Delhi.”
Overview of what the continued…