Water supply to Delhi should not be reduced, Supreme Court directs Punjab, Haryana

Water supply to Delhi from Punjab and Haryana will not be reduced for now. The Supreme Court extended the status quo on water supply to Delhi effectively putting on hold a decision of Punjab and Haryana to curtail it by 25 per cent.

UPDATED: March 26, 2021 15:40 IST

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the governments of Punjab and Haryana, and the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) to maintain the status quo on the water supply to Delhi. The Supreme Court extended the status quo ordered on Thursday till the next hearing, which would happen after the Holi holidays.

“Water supply to Delhi should not be reduced,” the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said.

The Supreme Court, thus, put the decision of Punjab, Haryana and the BBMC to reduce the water supply to Delhi by one-fourth for repair in a canal that carries Yamuna river water to Delhi from these two states.

The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) had moved the court against the decision to curtail water supply to the city. DJB’s counsel Vikas Singh told the Supreme Court that “photographs show that water level has gone down by six feet”.

CJI Bobde remarked, “We don’t have time to hear the matter today. We are extending the status quo orders.”

Senior counsel Shyam Divan, appearing for Haryana said, “We have not reduced our water supply. The orders [for maintaining status quo] yesterday were for Punjab.”

To this, CJI Bobde said, “So this status quo order will not hurt you.”

Delhi depends on the supply of water from Punjab and Haryana for its daily needs. Any reduction in the city’s water supply can spell trouble for its near 2 crore residents.

The DJB on Thursday argued against immediate repair work in the canal saying, “The repair work can be delayed till monsoons. Or they should make some alternative source of water available.”

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The Delhi water body requested the Supreme Court to send a court commissioner to see the water situation on the ground. It said the level in the tanks should be 10 feet high but it has gone down by half.


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