India's capital in water crisis after supplies cut

Jun 15, 2012

Large parts of New Delhi were struggling with acute water shortages on Friday after a neighbouring state cut its supplies at the peak of summer, officials said.

The sprawling Indian capital, with a population of 16 million sweltering in 43 degree C (109.4 F) , relies on four neighbouring states for its water -- Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand.

Haryana, the biggest supplier, cut its flow to the city on Thursday and about three million people have suffered shortages or been completely cut off, according to the Delhi Jal Board, a responsible for water supply.

Some of the capital's smartest districts are among the affected areas, and the crisis reflects growing water stresses in the country of 1.2 billion people.

"Suddenly, Haryana is refusing to release water to Delhi," a top Delhi Jal Board official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

"We are struggling at all levels. Every minute we are registering complaints of water shortage. This crisis has left us in a mess."

Several states across India face major challenges over water supply, triggering long-running legal battles over water sharing.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit accused Haryana, which says it has to conserve water for its own residents, of "playing foul" with the capital.

"We are not asking for any favours. We want what is due to us," Dikshit said in a statement Thursday.

In the peak of summer, New Delhi needs 1,100 million gallons of water every day, according to the Delhi Jal Board, but public are able to only supply 835 million gallons.

"There is always a supply-demand gap but this gap is just widening and worsening the crisis," said Himanshu Thakkar, an expert on at the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People research group in New Delhi.

According to a federal government report on in 2010, usage per capita in Delhi is higher than in most European cities.

"Delhi is a privileged city, it is a spoilt child. It does not use rain water harvesting, refuses to recharge 600 bodies (reservoirs) and just chooses to complain about shortages," said Thakkar.

A 2011 study by experts published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a US journal, estimated that more than one billion urban Indians will face serious by 2050.

India's six biggest cities -- Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad -- are among those most affected by the shortages.

Explore further: US northeast braces for flooding after record snow

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

WHO to help India probe 'superbug': report

Apr 14, 2011

The World Health Organisation will help India study whether a multi-drug resistant "superbug" allegedly found in New Delhi's water poses a health risk, a report Thursday said.

Billion-plus people to lack water in 2050: study

Mar 28, 2011

More than one billion urban residents will face serious water shortages by 2050 as climate change worsens effects of urbanization, with Indian cities among the worst hit, a study said Monday.

Beijing plans rule to curb capital's water usage

Mar 26, 2012

Authorities in Beijing plan to pass a rule this year aimed at curbing water usage by the capital's many golf courses and ski resorts, an official said Monday, as the city battles severe shortages.

Recommended for you

Avoiding ecosystem collapse

6 hours ago

From coral reefs to prairie grasslands, some of the world's most iconic habitats are susceptible to sudden collapse due to seemingly minor events. A classic example: the decimation of kelp forests when a ...

Global warming cynics unmoved by extreme weather

6 hours ago

What will it take to convince skeptics of global warming that the phenomenon is real? Surely, many scientists believe, enough droughts, floods and heat waves will begin to change minds.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rwinners
not rated yet Jun 17, 2012
I wonder how much water is lost in transmission from pumping stations to the individual user. Lots, I'll bet.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.