States may have to do with less water from the Yamuna and focus on conservation as it has been recommended to the Ministry of Jal Shakti to rework the 1994 water sharing agreement between Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
The pact is crucial to Delhi as it is dependent on Yamuna for up to 70% of its water needs.
The recommendation, made by the Yamuna Monitoring Committee, appointed by the National Green Tribunal, is based on the need to revive the Yamuna by releasing more fresh water into it, which would help maintain a certain environmental flow for the river to sustain its functions throughout the year.
A member of the monitoring committee said, “The river needs water… For that, States may have to do with less water, focus on conservation, and have less water intensive cropping practices.”
As per the 1994 Memorandum of Understanding signed by the five states, as well as Rajasthan, the annual allocation of the water is 5.7 billion cubic metres (BCM) to Haryana, 4.03 BCM to Uttar Pradesh — Uttarakhand was then part of UP — 1.11 BCM to Rajasthan, 0.37 BCM to Himachal and 0.72 BCM to Delhi.
Changes to this have been suggested in accordance with the findings of a study by the National Institute of Hydrology Roorkee (NIH), assigned by the National Mission for Clean Ganga in 2018 on the recommendation of the monitoring committee.
“As a living river, the Yamuna should be able to fulfill its ecological functions. These include recharging the groundwater aquifers, carrying nutrient rich alluvial sediment, supporting biodiversity and aquatic life and providing for social and cultural needs of the riparian populations,” the committee said in a report to the NGT in June.
Maintaining environmental flow at the point that the river enters Delhi is also a point of contention between Delhi and Haryana, with the former alleging time and again that not enough water is released by Haryana, thereby increasing the ammonia levels in water, making it difficult to treat.
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