Delhi’s parched areas to get water by Wednesday (Lead)

February 15th, 2011 - 8:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) A day after taps went dry in parts of the capital, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) Tuesday said that water supply will resume only by Wednesday morning as the level of ammonia in Yamuna waters continued to remain above permissible limits.According to DJB, the presence of very high levels of ammonia in the Yamuna waters reaching Delhi from Haryana has forced the shutdown of two water treatment plants Wazirabad and Chandrawal since Monday evening in the city, raising fears of an acute shortage of water in several parts of the city.

The water supply in north, central, parts of west and south Delhi has been the worst hit, as the two plants supply 210 million gallons of water per day on an average, making up for one-third of Delhi’s demand for water.

“The limit of ammonia in water has increased to 1.4 part per million (ppm), the plants will be restarted only when the ammonia level goes down to at least 0.6 ppm,” R.K. Garg, engineer-in-chief and member of the DJB, told reporters.

Garg said the ammonia level has been rising since Monday afternoon but the situation is expected to improve.

“We have started the cleansing operation and 1,000 cusec of water is being flushed out. By night, the ammonia level will be within the permissible limits and water supply is likely to resume Wednesday morning,” he said.

Attributing the rise in ammonia levels to the increase in pollutants being released in the Yamuna by Haryana, Ramesh Negi, DJB chief executive officer, said: “High levels of ammonia were traced in the water we had to shut down the plants immediately. The ammonia level has come down by 1.2 ppm today (Tuesday) 4 p.m and we are expecting to drop down further so the water supply will be restored by tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.”

According to DJB, the source of ammonia has been routed to come from Haryana mainly because of industrial pollution coming into the river from Panipat area mostly dyeing industries.

“The indiscriminate discharge of industrial and domestic waste into the river from Panipat area is one of the main reasons for this problem. The drain is linked to the Munak escape canal, which brings water to Delhi through the Yamuna,” Garg said.

He also said the problem did not occur in the last two years as they had stopped using the Panipat drain (drain no 8) in which this problem was quite rampant.

“With the water level in the Yamuna high, the surplus water has drained through it,” Garg said.

With the supply crunch troubling Delhiites till Wednesday morning, many residents voiced anger at the DJB’s lack of preparedness to meet a crisis.

“In case chemicals were traced, the DJB should have informed the people before. At least we could have stored water for the morning,” said Radhika Anand, a resident of Shalimar Bagh in north Delhi.

The residents of north, northwest, central and parts of west and south Delhi had to suffer water crunch as there were no supply tankers in most of the areas.

“The residents had to suffer the water crunch as the water tankers are fed by water from the same source and as the plants shut down they can’t help it,” Negi informed.

He also said that the matter has been taken up with environment department of Haryana and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) many times. They have been reminded again. An effective response is expected,” Negi added.

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