Supreme court orders Haryana to ensure Delhi’s water supply

In a significant relief for Delhi residents, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed Haryana to ensure the smooth flow of surplus water released by Himachal Pradesh to alleviate Delhi’s severe water crisis.

| Updated: 06 June, 2024 2:00 pm IST

NEW DELHI: In a significant relief for Delhi residents, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed Haryana to ensure the smooth flow of surplus water released by Himachal Pradesh to alleviate Delhi’s severe water crisis.

Recognizing the urgency, the bench of Justices PK Mishra and KV Viswanathan ordered Himachal Pradesh to release 137 cusecs of water. “Considering the urgency, we direct Himachal Pradesh to release the water tomorrow with prior intimation to Haryana,” the court stated. The water will reach the Hathnikund barrage in Haryana and then flow to Delhi through the Wazirabad barrage.

The court was addressing a petition by the Delhi government, which highlighted an acute water shortage due to the ongoing heatwave. Despite Delhi’s repeated requests, Haryana had not released the additional water, leading to the current legal intervention.

“Considering the urgency, we direct Himachal Pradesh to release the water tomorrow with prior intimation to Haryana”, the Supreme court stated (TNI Archive Photo by Sumit Kumar)

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During the hearing, the court questioned Haryana’s objections. “It is about a right of way (of water). Himachal is giving 150 cusecs; you (Haryana) let it pass through,” the court asserted.

Senior Advocate Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Delhi, suggested channeling water from the Beas river through Haryana’s canals to Delhi. However, Haryana’s counsel deemed this proposal infeasible. Advocate Shadan Farasat accused Haryana of being obstructionist.

Haryana’s counsel argued there was no way to measure and differentiate the surplus water for Delhi. Adv. Farasat clarified that water would be released from the Hathnikund Barrage upstream, ensuring Delhi receives it via Wazirabad downstream.

The court noted the extreme heat in Delhi and the absence of a similar water shortage in Haryana. “Since Himachal has no objection, we direct that it shall transfer 137 cusecs from upstream so water reaches Hathnikund barrage and reaches Delhi through Wazirabad,” the court ordered.

The AAP-led Delhi government has implemented strict measures to prevent water wastage, including fines and disconnections of illegal connections. The Supreme Court will review the situation on June 10, with Himachal Pradesh required to release water promptly and report the status. Amid scorching heat, the national capital continues to grapple with a severe water scarcity.

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