Delhi Water Crisis: Supreme Court directs the HP government to release 137 cusecs of water to Delhi

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Today (June 06, 2024), the Supreme Court (SC) of India was hearing an urgent matter regarding the water crisis faced by the residents of Delhi. The SC bench constituting Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice KV Viswanathan directed the Haryana Government not to obstruct the onward flow of water released by the Himachal Pradesh Government for Delhi to resolve the water crisis. Furthermore, the bench directed the Himachal Pradesh Government to release 137 cusecs of water tomorrow (June 07) to meet the water demands of the National capital with prior intimation to the Haryana government. The order stated, “Considering the urgency, we direct Himachal Pradesh to release the water tomorrow with prior intimation to Haryana and the Upper Yamuna River Road shall measure the water for onward supply. The status report be submitted on Monday, list on Monday.”

During the proceedings, the SC asked the counsel appearing for the state of Haryana, why Haryana objected to releasing the water towards Delhi if the water was coming from HP. It said, “It is about a right of way (of water). Himachal is giving 150 cusecs you (Haryana) let it pass through. We will tell the Chief Secretary if needed.” Senior Advocate Dr. AM Singhvi and Advocate Shadan Farasat appeared for the Delhi Government. After hearing the contentions, the SC bench said, “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. As and when the surplus water is released by the State of Himachal Pradesh with prior intimation, the State of Haryana shall facilitate the flow of water from Hathnikund to Wazirabad so it reaches Delhi without obstruction so the residents get drinking water.” 

The top court also cautioned about the wastage of water, “We are conscious of the fact that due to the acute water shortage, there should be no wastage of water by the Delhi government for which it should adopt the measures suggested by the Board.” The matter will be next heard on June 10, 2024 (Monday).