The Haryana government has unleashed a barrage of allegations against Delhi Jal Board (DJB) in an affidavit in the Supreme Court. The affidavit was filed in response to a petition filed by the Delhi Jal Board against the Haryana government seeking to stop the discharge of untreated pollutants, high ammonia, into the Yamuna river. The DJB also sought sufficient water supply for the capital, amid the ongoing summer season when water demand peaks, from the Haryana government.

“The state of Haryana is taking all possible and permissible steps to curb the pollution in the river water. However, the situation is the other way round as Delhi causes 79% of pollution in the water of river Yamuna”, said the Haryana government in the affidavit.

The sampling of water of river Yamuna was conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board during January 7-13, 2021, in which it found that ammoniacal nitrogen rises sharply from the Delhi contact point at Palla at Wazirabad. This indicates unauthorised discharges between Palla and Wazirabad and rising-up of ammonical nitrogen from sediments deposition at Wazirabad pond.

The affidavit said the rising sediment deposition at Wazirabad pond which supplies water to south, west, north and central Delhi is also responsible for the rising of ammonia nitrogen. “The DJB, instead of improving its capacity to treat the increased permissible limits of ammonical nitrogen in the river water, raises a hue and cry if the river water at the Yamuna contains the ammonical nitrogen level just above 0.8 PPM stating that their plant at Wazirabad cannot treat the water if the ammonical nitrogen is more than 0.8 PPM,” added the affidavit.

On the aspect of depleting water levels at the Wazirabad barrage, the affidavit said Haryana is constantly supplying the raw water to Delhi through the Carrier Lined Channel (CLC) and Delhi Sub-branch canal and Haryana has no control in management and utilization of the water in Delhi.

The Haryana government said it is not responsible for any depletion in the pond level at Wazirabad as claimed by the DJB. “It is further submitted that natural inflows and river generation accrued up to Wazirabad is to be utilized at Wazirabad pond for Wazirabad and Chandrawal WTPs (water treatment plants), but this natural regeneration has been disturbed by DJB by installing shallow tubewells and rannywells on the river bed between Pall and Wazirabad. It causes depletion in the pond level due to less availability of water in the river”, said the affidavit.

Haryana said it is facing a water shortage and rejected the plea for extra/additional water saying, as sufficient quantity was supplied to Delhi. “Water shortage is due to their (Delhi’s) own mismanagement and not because of any action or inaction on the part of the state of Haryana”, said the affidavit.

The affidavit also cited the Economic Survey of Delhi, which categorically observed Delhi is wasting water to the extent of 40 percent. “Depletion of water level at Wazirabad barrage is because of the diversion of the water by Delhi Jal Board for which they themselves are responsible. This situation of depletion of water was created by DJB with their ulterior motives”, said the affidavit.

The overall availability of water in the river Yamuna, this year, and Tajewala/Hathnikund barrage, as well as the Bhakra dam, has been reduced to alarming levels by 20-40 percent. Also, the inflow of Yamuna has reduced to 1,300 cusecs this year.

The DJB had expressed concern over high ammonia levels in the Yamuna and added that it is facing a shortage of raw water supply from neighboring Haryana. The DJB moved the Supreme Court to avert a “severe water crisis” in the city. The top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on April 14.