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Jal Board to press Punjab and Haryana on supply of water

Officials assured that closure of hydel channel won’t cut off water supply

DJB's water supply capacity is already impacted due to a reduced flow in the Yamuna due to inadequate rain. (File)

After having “positive discussions” with the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) on Monday, Delhi Jal Board (DJB) officials will have a joint meeting with Punjab and Haryana government officials this week on water supply to the capital.

The BBMB had planned a closure of the Nangal Hydel Channel from March 25 to April 24 for repair and maintenance, which would have impacted supply of about 232 million gallons per day (MGD) of water that Delhi receives from the Ravi and Beas rivers.

In a meeting on Monday, DJB officials said the BBMB has agreed to continue supplying water into the channel during repair work, with the exception of a few minor disruptions if the need arises.

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“The Haryana government is also cooperating with us and has agreed to supply water to Delhi as received by them,” a DJB official said.

However, in the same time period, the Punjab government had also planned a closure of the channel, also called the Bhakra Main Line (BML), for repairs, including that of a damaged embankment.

DJB officials agreed that the work planned by Punjab is crucial, but added that they will request the state to postpone it until the end of summer, when water demand in the capital reduces and there is good flow in the Yamuna river to compensate for losses. The request is being made because DJB officials fear the possibility of repairs extending beyond their planned time frame due to unforeseen circumstances, which will increase water burden on Delhi.

A blind or complete closure of the channel would roughly cut off 25% of Delhi’s potable water source at a time when water demand begins increasing more than the average 1,100 MGD in the city, against which the DJB can only supply around 935 MGD.

The DJB’s water supply capacity is already being impacted due to a reduced flow in the Yamuna since earlier this month, caused by inadequate rainfall this year and during September and October 2020, officials said.

Against the normal level of the Yamuna of 674.50 feet near the Wazirabad pond area, officials said the present level is 671.40 feet and the concentration of ammonia is around 3ppm, against a treatable limit of 0.9ppm.

Yamuna water supplied through two canals — the CLC and the DSB — is also less than the normal levels, officials said, which is further increasing the burden on water treatment plants.

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