July 6, 2008

Barrage at Palla May Help Solve Water Shortage

By Neha Lalchandani

NEW DELHI: Delhi may soon be able to overcome its water shortage after being given a go-ahead by the L-G for a feasibility study on the barrage at Palla. This barrage will store the monsoon backflow and the extra water that is released for Delhi, for using it in critical periods. Work for the same is expected to be awarded in another 6-8 months.

According to sources, the Central Water Commission (CWC) has already conducted a pre-feasibility study on the project and will be approached again for the main study. "Once the study is complete, we will be able to award work for construction based on the data collected. This will speed up work and we are planning to approach CWC for it. As soon as the study is in, we will get work started," said Arun Mathur, CEO, DJB.

Delhi faces a huge problem with no storage upstream or within the city. Hundred thousands gallons of water is released into the Yamuna annually. The Capital is constantly treading the tightrope with its neighbours because of its dependence on them for water and a barrage would solve much of its problem by making more water available for the city.

At present, 5,000 million gallons per day (MGD) of water is being released at Wazirabad, but Delhi has a treatment capacity of only 696 MGD. The remaining water is allowed to flow into the river. During peak monsoon, Delhi gets about 40,000 MGD of water, most of which is not used. The barrage would have a capacity of holding enough water for the city to use over a period of 4-5 months.

"The river is the cleanest during monsoon due to the amount of water released into it by the DJB," said sources. According to the Central Pollution Control Board data, Delhi's allocation for monsoon, between July and October, is 580 million cubic meters (MCM). Out of this, the Capital utilises 282 MCM and the remaining 298 MCM is allowed to flow away.

"The allocation for Delhi was done somewhat arbitrarily as we get the maximum quota during monsoon, when we need it the least, whereas the quantum is much lesser for say the summer months. A barrage will allow us to store this extra water and use it when need arises," said Mathur.

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