Damage to India canal highlights New Delhi's water vulnerability

NEW DELHI - Engineers were working Tuesday on restoring New Delhi's full water supply after protesters damaged a key canal in a neighbouring state and disrupted supplies over the weekend - highlighting the extreme water vulnerability faced by the Indian capital's 18 million residents.

See Full Article

Partial water supplies were restored in northern and central parts of New Delhi, and will hopefully reach western neighbourhoods by Tuesday evening, said Delhi's water minister, Kapil Mishra. In the meantime, he said, 70 water tankers have been sent to western areas of the city.

The destruction of the Munak canal link by protesters in the state of Haryana has focused attention on New Delhi's precarious water supply. The canal, which channels water from north Indian rivers, accounts for about 60 per cent of the city's water supply. Another 25 per cent comes from groundwater, while the polluted Yamuna River supplies about 12 per cent.

Yet even when the Munak canal flow is unimpeded, the overall water supply to New Delhi is not enough to meet its needs.

The situation is especially bad for the most marginal communities living in slums or riverside shanties, where many rely on sewage-tainted river water or deliveries by municipal water trucks. Others in the city draw heavily from the ground, leading New Delhi's aquifer levels to decline by 4 metres in the last decade, according to the Central Ground Water Board.

When protesters from the underprivileged Jat community breached the canal wall on Saturday, they effectively cut off about two-thirds of New Delhi's water supply. The Jats, traditionally a farming community within India's ancient system of caste hierarchy, were demanding quotas in government jobs and educational institutions.

In Sanjay Colony, a slum in southwest New Delhi, residents said Tuesday that this week's water shortage was making an already bad situation worse.

"We already spend a lot of hours trying to get water," said Indrapal, a security worker who gave only his first name. "People haven't been able to go to work."

They worried that a water crisis created by political protesters was setting a bad precedent for New Delhi's water security.

"Now it's the Jat community. Later it will be someone else asking for something," a Sanjay Colony resident named Lila said. "The government has been slow in reacting."

Ram Lal, a man who runs a small shop in the slum, also criticized the protesters, saying they "have done wrong. They should not have cut the water supply. Because of that, we couldn't get our water tanker."

Authorities in New Delhi had issued warnings over the weekend of impending water shortages, advising residents to use the resource sparingly and cancelling all school classes on Monday.

Meanwhile, Delhi water board authorities were working with experts in the army and Haryana state on repairing the damage done by the protesters, said Mishra, the Delhi water minister. By Monday, army troops had retaken control of the canal.

The city's reliance on groundwater has buffeted some of the population from the crisis, allowing many wealthier households to turn on their taps as usual. Elsewhere, residents were filling buckets and bottles in case the situation worsened.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Bollywood actress Zaira Wasim says she was inappropriately touched on flight

    World News CBC News
    Zaira Wasim, who starred in the hit Bollywood film Dangal, is accusing a man on her Delhi-Mumbai flight of touching her inappropriately with his foot. The 17-year-old Indian actress tried to document the alleged incident on Instagram on Sunday and her posts were then shared by fans. Source
  • 'Very scary': Boy escapes attempted abduction in small Ontario town

    Canada News CTV News
    Ontario Provincial Police are investigating the attempted abduction of a nine-year-old boy in St. Marys, a town about 170 kilometres west of Toronto. Police said the child was approached by a man in an SUV while walking alone around 7:30 p.m. Source
  • Heavy snow in U.K. causes highway closures, flight cancellations

    World News CBC News
    Snow caused travel disruptions across central England and northern Wales on Sunday, grounding flights, shutting down roads and triggering traffic accidents.First winter storm of the season brings snow and power outages to N.B.Bundle up, Toronto. The 'first widespread snowfall' of the season is comingBirmingham, London Stansted and London Luton airports briefly suspended flights as runways were cleared. Source
  • Israeli, French leaders tangle over U.S. Jerusalem decision

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- The French and Israeli leaders sparred verbally Sunday over the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, while new violence rippled across the region following the move by U.S. President Donald Trump. Source
  • Happy Valley-Goose Bay Mayor shot in the face while hunting, in critical condition

    Canada News CTV News
    Happy Valley-Goose Bay Mayor John Hickey is in critical, but stable condition after suffering a gunshot wound to the face. Hickey was alone in the woods on Saturday checking rabbit snares when the incident occurred. Source
  • Italian tightrope walker inches his way over Tiber River

    World News CTV News
    ROME -- An Italian tightrope walker has inched his way across the Tiber River in Rome. Andrea Loreni's high-wire act drew gasps of delight from crowds watching from below on Sunday evening. A safety cord connected Loreni to the tightrope wire that stretched 135 metres and was suspended 20 metres above the river near the Sant'Angelo Bridge. Source
  • Couillard's Liberals promise guaranteed minimum income for some Quebecers

    Canada News CTV News
    QUEBEC -- Premier Philippe Couillard is promising to create a guaranteed minimum income for certain Quebecers as part of a $3 billion anti-poverty plan. Couillard and Employment Minister Francois Blais presented the government's five-year anti-poverty strategy in Quebec City on Sunday. Source
  • Six Nations community comes together to support family who lost 3-year-old boy in fire

    Canada News CTV News
    Community members from a First Nations reserve in Ohsweken, Ont., have come together to support the family of a three-year-old boy who died in a house fire. Locals and businesses from Six Nations of the Grand River have been collecting in-kind donations for the Bomberry family, including toiletries, clothing, and houseware items. Source
  • Synagogue firebombed in Sweden, 3 people arrested

    World News CBC News
    Three people have been arrested for allegedly throwing firebombs at a synagogue in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, the second anti-Jewish attack in the Nordic nation in two days. Jewish groups condemned the attacks as "unconscionable" and demanded that authorities take action. Source
  • Thousands of veterans waiting as backlog for disability benefits explodes

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The number of veterans waiting to find out whether they qualify for disability benefits has skyrocketed over the last eight months, new figures show, leaving thousands of former military members in limbo. Veterans Affairs Canada says there were about 29,000 applications for disability benefits in the queue waiting to be processed at the end of November -- a nearly 50 per cent increase since the end of March. Source