A boy uses his mouth to pump out water from a municipal tanker to fill his containers in New Delhi, India. Photo: Reuters/Adnan Abidi
Delhi is on the verge of an imminent water crisis this summer with a possible closing of the Nangal Hydel channel.
The channel draws water from the Beas River and transports it to Delhi, contributing 25% of the national capital’s water supply.
Water flows from the Bhakra dam in Himachal Pradesh and releases into the Nangal Hydel channel. This channel later becomes the Bhakra main line, and supplies irrigation water to the state of Haryana. The power generated at the Bhakra Dam is distributed among Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi.
The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) announced that it would close operations of the channel for repair from March 25 to April 24.
Raghav Chadha, vice-chairman, of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) told ANI that Delhi will face a water crisis if the Centre closes the Nangal Hydel channel.
“Delhi’s water consumption in the summer has increased. Even then, the central government is going to stop the water from Beas by closing the Nangal Hydel channel. This blind closure will reduce 232 million gallons of water per day (MGD) in Delhi, when the need shoots up to 1,000 to 1,200 MGD,” Chadha told ANI.
This will also limit the supply to Rashtrapati Bhavan, Parliament, embassies and the Supreme Court.
DJB has written to the Centre, Haryana government and BBMB urging them not to stop the supply when it will be summer in Delhi.
The board has also called a meeting of all stakeholders in this regard, including the Jal Shakti Ministry. The unified ministry was formed in 2019 by merging the ministry of water resources, and ministry of drinking water and sanitation.
“It seems that the government may have taken a final decision to go ahead with it despite the lack of consent from the stakeholders,” Chadha told News18.
Apart from Beas, Delhi also relies on water from Yamuna, Ganga, and groundwater supply. Delhi does not have water bodies of its own to meet the needs of its people.
Earlier in February, debris from the flash floods in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli had increased Ganga’s turbidity. This forced the DJB to operate at reduced capacity, partially affecting the water supply in some parts of Delhi.