THE UT Administration is mulling over a proposal to divert 2 mgd (million gallons of water per day) water from Bhakra mainline canal daily from November to February every year as a permanent solution to prevent the drying up of Sukhna Lake. “It is only additional water to lake every year that can serve the purpose. We get 62 mgd from Bhakra mainline canal daily and the demand in winter is around 50 mgd daily. So it was discussed that let this be a protocol that every year 2 mgd water is given to Sukhna Lake from November 1 to February 28. Punjab and Haryana won’t give their share of water for Sukhna and it is only UT that has to find a permanent solution,” said a senior officer of the administration.
This issue will also be taken up at a meeting of the high-powered committee on Saturday. The meet is being held on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. “We have been getting de-silting done but the fact is that the city has received rainfall above 50 mm on a few days. Rainfall above 50 mm only can create significant run-off from hilly catchments areas and last year in the entire monsoon, there were only two days when it rained above 50 mm,” added the officer.
At present, the water level at Sukhna is 1,152.55 ft. But the annual water lelvel is recorded only after the monsoon. So the UT Administration is hopeful that this will not be the worst year for Sukhna. So far, the lowest post-monsoon water level recorded for the lake is 1,154.55 ft in 1987. Going by the recorded water levles of the last three decades, the UT Administration says that the lake has “dried up” every four-five years. Water has dipped below the red flag level of 1,157-1,158 feet several times since 1981. Whenever the post-monsoon level is below 1,157-1,158 feet, the lake usually dries up the next summer.
Since January 16, the Chandigarh Administration has been using a 450 m pipeline to divert 2 million gallons of water per day to the lake from seven tubewells located near the Chandigarh Golf Club. The operation continued till March. The water level of the lake in April was 1,154 feet. High-powered committee to meet on Saturday
On the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a high-powered committee comprising officials from UT, Punjab and Haryana and scientists from Central government ministries will meet on Saturday to discuss the receding water level of Sukhna. The officials will be meeting at the UT Guesthouse at 12 noon and may visit the lake as well. The committee will discuss long-term and short-term solutions for the Sukhna Lake.