Let Himachal prove it released surplus water to Delhi: Yamuna River Board

Per a Supreme Court order, Himachal Pradesh should release 137 cusecs of water for Delhi; but the hill state says Haryana is the one withholding the water

Supreme Court of India (representative image: PTI)
Supreme Court of India (representative image: PTI)


Himachal Pradesh should prove it has been releasing 137 cusecs of unutilised water for Delhi according to the Supreme Court order of 6 June, the Upper Yamuna River Board (UYRB) has told the top court. The board has acknowledged it is not in a position to estimate whether Himachal Pradesh is abiding by the apex court's prior order.

In an affidavit filed before the apex court, the UYRB referred to a letter sent to Haryana by Himachal Pradesh, in which the hill state has said its share of unutilised water was already flowing uninterruptedly to the Hathni Kund barrage and that Haryana should release it to Delhi.

The affidavit, filed through advocate Brajesh Kumar, states:

'As per above letter, the 137 cusec of unutilised water is already flowing uninterruptedly from the territory of Himachal Pradesh to Tajewala (in Haryana). It therefore emerges that Himachal Pradesh is not releasing any additional water subsequent to the order of the Supreme Court dated 06.06.2024 which could be measured by the UYRB.

'Himachal Pradesh does not have any storage from where it can release the additional water amounting to 137 cusec in pursuance to Supreme Court order and therefore excess water released by Himachal Pradesh for Delhi can only be ascertained using two methodologies which has also been mentioned by Haryana.'

Explaining the methodology it wants to apply, the UYRB said the release of water can be measured if Himachal Pradesh reduces its present use and submits a tabular form showing reduction of use totalling 137 cusecs in its own area of use.

'There can only be the indirect measurement of receipt of water at Hathni Kund Barrage. Direct measurement of receipt at Hathni Kund Barrage is not possible because of natural flow fluctuations and fluctuations from Uttarakhand hydel projects,' the Board said.

The Upper Yamuna River Board submitted that Himachal Pradesh should provide a map to show all diversion structures on the tributaries of the Yamuna, its canal system, a list of canals using the river water, their design discharges and month-wise utilisation of the river water from the year 2000 onwards.

'Himachal Pradesh should provide the details in the following table to ascertain their unutilised share, in the absence of which the board is not in a position to estimate the unutilised share of the state of HP which they want to share with Delhi and pass through Haryana,' the affidavit said.

The affidavit was filed in response to a plea by the Delhi government seeking a direction to Haryana to release the surplus water provided by Himachal Pradesh to the national capital to mitigate its water woes.

With the acute shortage of drinking water having become an "existential problem" in Delhi, the apex court had earlier directed the Himachal Pradesh government to release 137 cusecs of surplus water to the national capital and for Haryana to facilitate its flow.

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