Amid a deep health crisis facing the Indian capital, with a lack of adequate oxygen to meet the needs of critically ill COVID-19 patients, another crisis involving inadequate water is looming large.
Delhi, which is in the middle of fighting an alarming surge in the number of COVID-19 infections, has been reporting a shortage of water since the onset of summer last month. Now, scarcity of water, it is feared, will hit the supplies of hospitals as well.
Delhi confirmed over 1.17 million cases of the COVID-19 as of 1 May, with over 16,000 fatalities and over a million recoveries. Hospitals are reporting an acute shortage of oxygen and ICU beds, besides medical supplies to treat such huge numbers of people.
One lawmaker in Delhi, Raghav Chadha, who is also the vice chairman of the Delhi Jal (Water) Board that regulates the city's water supply, warned that the crippling shortage of water "in the coming days might affect Delhi's hospitals also".
On 1 May, Chadha took to Twitter to pour out his angst at the extremely low water level in the River Yamuna after Haryana state reportedly did not release enough water.
हरियाणा के मुख्यमंत्री मान• खट्टर जी (@mlkhattar) से मेरा विनम्र निवेदन है कि यमुना में पानी के स्तर को बढ़ायें ताकि दिल्ली को पर्याप्त पानी मिल सकें। वज़ीराबाद तालाब में पानी का स्तर 674.5 फीट से घटकर मात्र 667.20 फीट रह गयी है जिससे पानी के उत्पादन पर गहरा असर पड़ रहा है। pic.twitter.com/I1oaYt807o— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) May 1, 2021
Chadha made a public appeal to Haryana state chief Manohar Lal to "help Delhi during the pandemic crisis".
यमुना में गिरते पानी के स्तर के वजह से वज़ीराबाद, चन्द्रावल व ओखला जल प्रशोधन संयंत्र में पानी कम मात्रा में उत्पादन हो रही है एवं कई रिहायशी इलाकों में पानी की किल्लत हो रही है। आनेवाले दिनों में दिल्ली के अस्पतालों पर भी असर पड़ सकता है। इस कोरोना काल मे दिल्ली की मदद करें। pic.twitter.com/dvFpZn69Wa— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) May 1, 2021
For weeks now, Delhi has been receiving not just an insufficient water supply, which has led to severe shortages in several residential areas, but also poor quality of water, laden with ammonia.
Water at the two treatment plants of Delhi, Wazirabad and Chandrawal, is sourced from the River Yamuna, which is drawn at the Wazirabad barrage in Delhi.
On 14 April, Chadha wrote to the chief of the neighbouring state of Haryana, Manohar Lal to help end the "humanitarian crisis" in Delhi rising out of the "alarming level of pollutants in River Yamuna".
"The pollution is occurring due to industrial waste water discharge from Haryana which is polluting river Yamuna downstream", he wrote. "In the past few months there have been various instances of increase in River pollution beyond treatable levels resulting in reduced production of potable water", the lawmaker went on.
Haryana Govt is guilty of wilful deprivation of right to life to Delhiites on account of:— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) April 13, 2021
(1) withholding major chunk of Delhi's share of Yamuna water
(2) sending increased ammonia/pollutants much beyond treatable levels
thereby affecting water supply in major parts of Delhi pic.twitter.com/wEWQc7bybw
During the summer season, the woes of people in Delhi have been worsening every year as the landlocked capital's water problems are caused due to being dependent on neighbouring Haryana state to meet its demands for water consumption. Out of its roughly 1,300-million-gallon daily water requirement, Delhi relies on the Yamuna for nearly 60% of its water needs.
The Delhi government has alleged that although Haryana is mandated by the apex court to provide 450 cusecs of water daily to the city, it usually receives around 320 cusecs, which leads to water shortages.
Haryana, however, has its own side of the story, as the state government has vehemently fended off allegations.
A senior official at the Water Resources Department told Sputnik, "There has been an overall shortage of water due to poor rainfall in the rainfed areas. The state has its own needs to meet with which the government is morally bound to give priority to. We are constantly in touch with Delhi government to resolve the issue".