Delhi Water Crisis: Supreme Court directs Delhi Government to approach UYRB for release of more water, HP tells court it does not have surplus water

Share on:

On June 13, 2024 (Thursday), the Supreme Court (SC) of India was hearing a petition filed by the Delhi government seeking directions to Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to release surplus drinking water from the Hathni Kund Barrage for use by the national capital. The vacation bench constituting Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice Prasanna B Varale disposed of the petition and directed the Delhi Government to approach the (UYRB) Upper Yamuna River Board for the release of more water to combat the water shortage crisis in Delhi. The SC bench also said that “the issue concerning sharing of Yamuna water between the States who are signatories of the MoU dated 12.05.1994 is complex and sensitive issue and this Court does not have the expertise to decide, even on interim basis…” The top Court; therefore; ordered, “The issue should be left to be considered by the UYRB, a Body constituted with the agreement of parties in the MoU dated 12.05.1994. Since the UYRB has already directed the State of Delhi to submit an application for supply of additional 150 Cusec of water on humanitarian ground, let such application be made, if not already made, by 5 p.m. today (June 13, 2024) and thereafter the UYRB shall convene a meeting tomorrow (June 14, 2024) and take a decision in the matter at the earliest.” The SC bench disposed of the writ petition.

Amidst the ongoing water crisis in Delhi, Himachal Pradesh (HP) stated that it does not have surplus water to give to the national capital after sending 137 cusecs of water to Delhi. During the proceedings on June 13 (yesterday), the SC vacation bench warned stating, “the officer who has supplied that chart is saying that we have excess water of 137 cusecs and the additional AG was not properly apprised of the situation. Now, you are issuing a letter that 137 is already in the pipeline….If you have excess water and you are not supplying that excess water, you are in contempt.” Moreover, the bench also pointed query to the learned Advocate General appearing for the State of Himachal Pradesh as to how he would reconcile the statement made before the top court by the learned Additional Advocate General under instructions of the Engineer-in-Chief and the contents of the communication as of June 06, 2024. It added, that the learned Advocate General would submit that the earlier statement made regarding the ‘availability’ of surplus/additional water was not correct and he may be permitted to withdraw that statement. He would submit that given what is mentioned in the communication dated June 06, the State of HP does not have an additional 137 Cusec water as of date June 13.