Yamuna River Swells Further Amid Flooding in Delhi
The water levels of the Yamuna River in Delhi continue to rise, posing a significant threat to the city. At 10 am on Thursday, the river was measured at 208.53 meters and is expected to further increase to 208.75 meters between 3-5 pm. This surge comes after the water levels breached a 45-year-old record, reaching a peak of 208.08 meters at 11 pm on Wednesday. The flooding has resulted in the inundation of low-lying areas and has prompted extensive evacuation efforts.
Several areas, including Monastery Market, Majnu ka Tila, Mayur Vihar Phase I, Geeta Colony, and sections of Ring Road near Kashmere Gate, have been severely affected by the flooding. As a result, some portions of the Ring Road and Bhairon Marg in central Delhi have been closed. In response to the situation, approximately 16,500 people from six districts were evacuated and relocated to 2,500 relief camps. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called for urgent action, writing to Union Home Minister Amit Shah to seek intervention in controlling the release of water from the Hathni Kund barrage in Haryana, which is upstream from Delhi. The water levels in the Yamuna River are directly influenced by the release of water from the barrage.
Authorities have reported that the Yamuna River continues to flow above the danger level of 205.33 meters, surpassing the previous record of 207.49 meters set on September 6, 1978. The quantum of water released from the Hathni Kund barrage has been reduced due to the subsiding flood situation in rivers upstream in Himachal Pradesh.
The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, VK Saxena, visited the affected areas and has scheduled a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority to address the situation.
The flooding in Delhi highlights the urgent need for a comprehensive water management master plan and better urban planning. The poor maintenance of drainage systems is just a minor factor contributing to the problem, with the main culprits being planned and unplanned developments that disregard the land profile of settlements. Encroachments on the riverbed and the rapid construction of infrastructure projects without considering hydrological studies have exacerbated the flooding issue. It is crucial for authorities to prioritize people's well-being, walkability, and localized drainage plans over vehicular speed and prioritize the implementation of a water management plan based on local realities.