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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Hathnikund Barrage: Hathnikund of Haryana: Is this the delhi barrage of ills? A reality check | delhi news

Hathnikund Barrage, Yamunanagar (Haryana): The beauty and ferocity of nature inspires awe in this place, about 230 km from Delhi. It is here that a river subtly marks the boundaries of four states.

Muhammad Akhtar, a 61-year-old farmer, has traveled all the way from Jhalu village in UP’s Shamli district, more than 100km away, on his bicycle with fellow farmer Idrees. They are not here on an excursion like the tourists who flock to this picturesque place. They are nervous and apprehensive.
“The water levels started to rise in our town last week. The water is being released into the canals again and has flooded the entire area. We know that the situation in Delhi is not good either, but at least there are officials to take care of it since it is the national capital. Nobody is assessing the situation for us,” says a concerned Akhtar.
In far away Delhi, there is some relief. The water level at Hathnikund Dam began to drop on July 13, though it may not be apparent as its roar is loud enough to drown out the horns of passing buses, while water pouring from the dam into the main stream of the river towards Delhi continues to weave a blanket of mist across the area.
Many villagers like Akhtar and Idrees have come from remote places to see the situation first hand. “Do you think the water level has dropped? It will rise again? a farmer asks the locals selling snacks along the dam. The farms of these men now lie submerged and are not suitable for growing rice.
Bijender Singh, a farmer from the Jodhpur village of Yamunanagar, says the river had spread over a very large area and inundated many farms. “The region is connected to small irrigation canals that get water from the west or east yamuna channel. In some places, the water overflowed and filled the farms. Many had already planted rice, which happens in ankle-deep water,” Singh explains. “However, beginning in the second week of July, as the river spread over a large area out of its riverbed, many farms were knee-deep and even waist-deep in water. This has destroyed the entire crop. ”
By July 11, the barrage flow had increased to over 3 lakh cusecs. However, Haryana irrigation department officials say the situation is very different now. It was 70,000 cusecs on Tuesday and dropped further to 50,000 cusecs on Wednesday. Describing the situation as “under control”, the officials said they could now release water into the other two canals: the Yamuna East Canal which runs to UP and the Yamuna West Canal which flows into Haryana and ultimately supplies drinking water to Delhi via Munak.
However, the monsoon is not over yet. The highest flow in the dam was recorded in 2019, in the month of August, something that worries farmers and officials alike.
Does Delhi have anything to worry about? Officials say they are required to follow established protocol for the safety of a larger area. “First we need to understand that it is a shelling and not a dam, which means we cannot hold water here. So if the flow crosses 1 lakh cusecs, we must release the extra water into the Yamuna or else the barrier will break and cause worse flooding,” an official said.
“In addition, since the river comes from the mountains, it brings an excessive load of sediments, stones and other solid particles during the rains. This is the reason why when the flow is more than 1 lakh cusecs, we do not release water into the other two channels as these would get clogged with sediment. These canals are also linked by some upstream canals that can cause overflow and cause further damage. ”
On 9 July, one day before the flood situation began to worsen in Delhi, the water level in the Hathnikund Dam exceeded 2 lakh cusecs, after which the authorities stopped the flow into the eastern and western Yamuna canals. On July 10, the level of the Yamuna in Delhi passed the 206 m mark and evacuation of the low-lying areas began. The next day, the Hathnikund level reached this season’s peak at over 3.58 lakh cusecs. The additional water poured into the main Yamuna channel, setting off a series of events that submerged much of the national capital.
Emphasizing that releasing water into the canals would only aggravate the situation, the official said: “What happens if in such a scenario, we let the water pass through the East Yamuna canal which goes to UP or the West Yamuna canal which feeds water to Delhi? The channels will clog and it will take us at least a week to clean them out. So for a week, there would be no supply of drinking water to the reservoirs of Delhi through the Munak canal. How will a city like Delhi survive without water for more than a week?
An engineer from the Delhi irrigation department, speaking on condition of anonymity, told TOI: “During floods in a city, a poorly managed drainage system fails when reverse flow starts. This is one of the main reasons behind waterlogging even in urban areas that are not close to the catchment area. ”
According to Professor Shashank Shekhar, a DU geologist who has done multiple studies on the Yamuna, Delhi can no longer compromise its floodplains.
“Once the situation improves, the administration has its task cut back. First, you need to assess how Delhi was flooded while a large part of the area between Hathnikund and Wazirabad bombardment remained spare. There are massive unauthorized encroachments in Zone O. The administration should also look into why Delhi’s drains were not managed properly,” Shekhar said.

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