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Delhi On Brink Of 50°C Heat, Water Shortage Looms; Government Urges Conservation

Delhi Minister Atishi warned that using hoses to wash cars or letting water tanks overflow could lead to fines due to excessive water usage, amidst soaring temperatures reaching 49.9°C in some areas.
08:19 AM May 29, 2024 IST | simran rajpal
delhi on brink of 50°c heat  water shortage looms  government urges conservation

Delhi Minister Atishi stated on Tuesday that washing cars with a hose or allowing water tanks to overflow may soon result in fines for excessive water usage. This announcement comes as the city grapples with severe heat conditions, with temperatures soaring up to 49.9 degrees Celsius in certain areas.

The minister additionally accused Haryana of withholding Delhi's water share since May 1 and stated that if the matter remains unresolved, Delhi will approach the Supreme Court. This marks the first clear indication of a significant water crisis in Delhi, which heavily relies on neighboring states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to fulfill its escalating water needs. Atishi urged people not to waste water.

"At today's press conference, I observed water flowing in driveways outside homes in many residential areas of South Delhi due to vehicle washing. I appeal to everyone not to wash vehicles in this manner. If this public appeal doesn't yield results within the next one or two days, we may consider issuing fines for excessive water usage. However, for now, we are making this appeal," she stated.

"At addressing the issue of water scarcity, the government has opted to rationalize water supply across various regions of the national capital. We've implemented several measures, including reducing water supply frequency from twice daily to once daily in many areas. Those areas previously receiving water twice daily will now receive it once daily. The water conserved through this adjustment will be distributed systematically to areas experiencing water deficiency, where supply currently lasts only 15 to 20 minutes daily," Atishi explained.

Delhi, along with various parts of Central and Northwest India, is experiencing a heatwave, with the maximum temperature reaching 49.9 degrees Celsius at two automatic weather stations in Mungeshpur and Narela. The manual observatories at Aya Nagar and Ridge near Delhi University also surpassed their previous records for highest maximum temperatures, recording 47.6 degrees Celsius and 47.5 degrees Celsius, respectively.

At Safdarjung, the city's base station, the maximum temperature soared to 45.8 degrees Celsius, marking the highest temperature of the season so far and also the highest since May 2020, when it reached 46 degrees Celsius.

According to the IMD forecast, Wednesday is expected to witness a maximum temperature of around 46 degrees Celsius.

Delhi experienced a heatwave at most places and severe heatwave at a few places today.
Atishi acknowledged the challenges people are facing, stating, "We should not only think about ourselves... We should stand together and consider everyone... Today, we confront a challenging situation where the Haryana government has halted water supply to Delhi... Please cooperate and use water judiciously."

She accused the Haryana government of withholding Delhi's allocated water share since May 1, stating, "The Yamuna water level at Wazirabad was 674.5 feet on May 1, and it has since decreased to 669.8 feet... The average water level should be upheld... Last year, during April, May, and June, the minimum level was maintained at 674.6 feet. However, insufficient water release from Haryana results in reduced raw water quantity, causing slowdowns in water treatment plants across various areas."

A man is seen cycling near a landfill site on a hot summer day during a heatwave in New Delhi. (Reuters)

Atishi warned that if the Haryana government fails to resolve the issue and release the necessary water to the national capital, Delhi will seek intervention from the Supreme Court.

According to the latest economic survey, Haryana meets 64 percent of Delhi’s water needs, while Uttar Pradesh meets 26.5 percent.

The city's water requirement, as per the survey for 2022-23, is 1,290 million gallons daily (MGD).

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