Chief minister Sheila Dikshit admits 11 underground reservoirs lying idle because of water shortage
Rising mercury and water scarcity stirred a debate in the Delhi Assembly on March 14 when BJP MLA from Palam, Dharam Dev Solanki, blamed the Delhi government of diverting drinking water meant for residents to rich hoteliers of Mahipalpur.
Solanki’s allegations led to similar statements from other BJP members of the house, leading to an uproar. The Speaker had to adjourn the house for 40 minutes. Scarcity of water in the city remained the main topic of discussion when the house reassembled.
Solanki accused chief minister Sheila Dixit of being biased against BJP members. He said the government has been intentionally interrupting water supply in Dwarka which remained deprived of filtered drinking water for a decade even when proper water connections and pipelines exist. Residents have to depend on water tankers.
Though Solanki demanded an independent inquiry into the matter, Dikshit said a committee constituted by the Delhi Jal Board is already investigating the matter. She said that problem was only on account of non-availability of adequate water due to the lack of supply from Munak canal.
She later admitted that 24 underground reservoirs have been set up in Delhi in the past five years but only 13 of them are operational while the other 11 reservoirs have been lying idle due to lack of water. The present system of underground reservoirs requires too much power and the pressure of water being supplied is not sufficient in areas that are slightly away. In 1989, the Delhi government had estimated that 59 underground reservoirs would be required in the city to ensure equitable distribution of water. In 2000-2002, a study recommended an additional 53 underground reservoirs for the Capital.
Dikshit said the government would not allow any shortage of water and will send water tankers fitted with GPS so that their movement is tracked and there is no water theft. Dixit said the government was planning to commission Munak Canal and make three major water treatment plants fully functional which will help in overcoming the water shortage problem in the city. During peak monsoon, Delhi gets about 40,000 MGD of water, most of which is not used as Delhi’s treatment capacity is about 700 MGD and it doesn’t have any storage capacity. Central Pollution Control Board data states Delhi’s allocation for the monsoon, between July and October is 580 million cubic metres (mcm). Of this Delhi utilises 282 mcm and the remaining 298 cm is allowed to flow down the river.