The Delhi High Court Tuesday asked Haryana to remove the bunds that, according to the Delhi government, were blocking flow of clean water into the Yamuna and was leading to an increase in pollution levels in the national capital’s water supply.
The direction by a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao came after the Haryana government stated in an affidavit that it will remove the bunds.
In its affidavit, the Manohar Lal Khattar government has said the bunds were put up in DD-8 canal to ensure that pollution from it does not flow into the Yamuna.
It also denied the Delhi government’s allegations in its recent application, that due to the bunds the water supply of the national capital was getting more polluted.
Haryana in its reply to the application has said that of the 1,000 million gallons per day (MGD) water requirement of the national capital, 500 MGD good quality raw water is supplied by it through canals and 440 MGD is sourced from the Ganga and tubewells.
Only the remaining 60 MGD water which is sourced directly from the Yamuna would contain high levels of ammonia, it has said and added that Delhi was the largest contributor to pollution in the Yamuna.
The Delhi Jal Board (DJB), represented by senior advocate Dayan Krishnan and advocate Sumeet Pushkarna, told the bench that they need to go through the affidavit and sought time to respond to it.
The court, thereafter, gave the DJB time till March 13 to respond to the claims made by Haryana in its affidavit.
Haryana, in its affidavit filed by the principal secretary of its water department, has claimed that the raw water supply from it to Delhi never gets affected or reduced even in the lean season.
It has also said that Delhi should take urgent steps to reduce its losses which are alleged to be 10 per cent during treatment and 30 per cent after that, as residents of Haryana suffer from dearth of water to ensure the national capital does not.
Haryana has contended that some losses during treatment are inevitable, “but losses to the extent as projected by DJB are unpardonable and can even be termed as criminal wastage of precious raw water.”
It has further said that “any deficiency in water supply to the citizens of Delhi is because of mismanagment and inaction on the part of the DJB”.
It has also said that at Agra in Uttar Pradesh, which is downstream of Delhi, the Yamuna water received is of much worse quality and therefore, that state has installed a water treatment plant (WTP) of much higher capacity.
Haryana has stated that the DJB should also consider setting up a WTP of higher capacity.
It has contended that the application filed by the DJB was not maintainable and was liable to be dismissed as Delhi was receiving more than its requirement of water from Haryana and the surplus can be used to dilute the ammonia levels in the Wazirabad reservoir.
The DJB, in its plea, had claimed that if urgent steps are not taken to remove the bunds it would adversely affect the water supply to central Delhi, including the Lutyens zone.
It had claimed that the DD-8 channel which supplies additional water to Yamuna to dilute its pollution levels has been blocked by Haryana and therefore, the water being received at Wazirabad was unusable for treatment as it had high levels of ammonia.
The application had said that water treated at Wazirabad is supplied to Central Delhi where all the major government offices, bungalows and the Supreme Court and the High Court are located.
It also sought directions to Haryana to control the pollutants that it was discharging into the Yamuna.
The DD-8 channel carries clean water from the Delhi Sub Branch Canal (DSBC) and the Munak canal into the Yamuna to ensure the reservoir at Wazirabad is always kept full, the application had said.
The application was moved by the DJB in a PIL by a lawyer, S B Tripathi, seeking sufficient water supply for the national capital.
The high court had earlier asked the Haryana government to ensure that it releases the entire quantity of water required as per the undertaking given by it to the court.
Haryana has to release 719 cusecs of water per day into Munak canal and 330 cusecs per day in DSBC, according to the undertaking and earlier court orders.