Delhi Water Shortages on Near Horizon

Delhi faces severe water shortages in the next several years due to a lack of alternative water sources, prompting some citizens to push for city-wide self-sufficiency by 2016.

Called the Blue Delhi Programme, the taskforce will be comprised of a cross-section of concerned community members. Committees within the Blue Delhi Programme will focus on education, as well as the implementation and monitoring of programmes on water conservation.

Statistics compiled by the Forum of Organised Resource Conservation and Enhancement (FORCE) show that Delhi’s poor could face water shortages as high as 100%, a product of the huge variability in water supplies due primarily to population growth that is exceeding planned rates.

Serious Health Impacts of Fluoride in Water
The fluoride concentration in the water in many villages in the Jaisalmer and Barmer districts is being attributed to the aged appearances of young people, as well as the rise in hunchbacks and bone-related diseases. Excessive use of groundwater resources in these areas has lead to increased fluoride concentrations, and in many places, the water table is failing to be recharged, with water levels declining by as much as 25 centimeters.

In the Balu village of Barmer, it is estimated that 100 families have been affected, with one or two people per family having developed a hunchback, most in the past five years. A proposed solution involves the Barmer Lift Canal Project.

The World Health Organization puts safe fluoride levels for drinking water at 1 part per million (ppm). In the affected areas in western Rajasthan, fluoride contents have been measured at levels as high as seven ppm.

Depoliticizing Water in the Himalayas
In anticipation for the ‘Climate Summit for a Living Himalayas 2011’ Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, and Nepal attended the two-day planning meeting in Bangladesh on July 2nd. Representatives discussed the 10-year roadmap to water security in the Himalayan region, focusing on disaster management, ecosystem valuation, and new climate modeling techniques.

The region’s system of rivers is one of the primary sources of water for nearly 1.3 billion people downstream. Experts recognize the importance of management through an ecological perspective rather than political, and emphasize the need for collaboration and knowledge sharing.

New Water Portal in Rajasthan

Information is a prerequisite to better conservation believes Water Resources Minister Mahipal Maderna. The first of its kind in India, the online-based water portal will allow farmers, researchers, and policy makers to access the latest data in rainfall, water availability in damns, and release rates in canals.

Updated regularly, the site promises to offer the most current and accurate data on drinking and irrigation water. Additional Chief Secretary of Water Resources, Ram Lubhaya, hopes the portal will be a model for adoption in other states.

Worlds Bank Gives Boost to the National Rural Livelihoods Project (NLRP)
In one of the largest poverty reduction initiatives in India, The Ministry of Rural Development has entered into a loan agreement with the World Bank to receive approximately 4,600 crores for poverty alleviation projects.

The distribution of funds will go to 100 districts and 400 blocks in 12 of India’s poorest states (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu).  Under the National Rural Livelihoods Project (NRLP), the National Rural livelihood Mission (NRLM) seeks to empower the poor, particularly women, through grassroots initiatives focused on education, health, and financial opportunities.

Haryana Carries Water Shortages in Delhi
The ongoing dispute between Delhi and Haryana was resolved Tuesday. In the agreement, Haryana will provide the capital with an additional 17,273 liters per second, or 610 cubic feet per second, via Munak Canal, while the city will provide Haryana Rs 50 crore as “upfront reimbursement” for the yet to be completed Munak channel. Haryana has requested Rs 150 crore in total reimbursements.  The channel is expected to save 80 million gallons of raw water every day.

The agreement came at a meeting of the Group of Ministers, a four-member group formed in January to help resolve the dispute. The 610 cubic feet per second agreed upon in the meeting is in addition to the 125 already provided by Haryana to Delhi.

Plea for Special Water Status in Rajasthan
Rajasthan has one again reiterated its demand for special status in light of an impending water crisis. The demand was made by the state’s water resource minister at a meeting of over 60 representatives from states across north and central India.

In his argument, Mahipal Maderna said that while Rajasthan is the largest state, it has only 1% of India’s water. In addition to special status, Rajasthan should also receive financial and technical packages from the government. These programs could work in conjunction with the over 4,000 water consumer organizations that have been formed in villages across the state.

The government is also working in concert with the European Commission to help address the most pressing water-related needs in the state. Currently one of the biggest challenges is bringing drinking water to desert areas. 

  1. The Times of India.  19 July 2011.
  2. Fluoride in water: Youths age early in western Rajasthan.” The Times of India. 18 July 2011.)
  3. Water Security on top of Himalayan Agenda “ Kuensal Online.  July 4, 2011.)
  4. New web portal to help manage water resources in dry state.” The Hindu. July 22, 2011.
  5. Expanding the National Rural Livelihoods Project (NLRP) under NRLM.” Press Information Bureau. July 15th, 2011.)
  6. Delhi gets water share after truce with Haryana.” The Times of India. 20 July 2011.)
  7. Water crisis: State again demands special status.” The Times of India. 15 July 2011.)