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Delhi’s Might, Renuka’s Plight

Delhi's Might, Renuka's Plight

[img src=]6650Proposed Renuka Dam Site, Sirmour, HP
[img src=]2410Namaste!
Smiling Young Girl from a village in Nahan District in Himachal Pradesh. Her home along with thirty-seven other villages will be completely submerged in the catchment lake of the proposed Renuka Dam on Giri Ganga River. The dam will supply water exclusively to Delhi, the capital city.
[img src=]1520Beautiful
This undulating view like many others will soon be lost forever. The twenty-four square kilometer lake will destroy dense forests and wildlife. Estimated 17 lakh trees will be submerged.
[img src=]1150Farmers working in wheat fields
The land is very fertile and multi cropping is the norm. Twenty-eight different varieties of food grains, pulses, oil crops, spices, and vegetables are grown in the area. Most of the vegetables, especially tomatoes, are supplied to Delhi.
[img src=]1470Snippet of life in the villages
[img src=]1130Snippet of life in the villages
[img src=]1140Snippet of life in the villages
[img src=]1030Government Banner announcing benefits of the upcoming Dam
While communities dispossessed due to Bhakra Nangal Dam (built in 1963) are still waiting for a just compensation, this banner appears to be a joke.
[img src=]620India Shining
Their farms have been notified for submergence. With no sustainable livelihood option in sight, three generations of Bhura ram’s family are next in line to become part of the millions constructing modern India as labourers in cities.
[img src=]620Paying for Delhi’s water
Tara Devi, a dalit farmer, looks gloomily at her land. Thousands like her are left wondering why they must give up their land and livelihood in favour of an unjust act.
[img src=]520Delhi water waste
What would Tara Devi think when she finds out that both, her life and water have been snatched away for such careless wastage in Delhi.
[img src=]550Delhi water waste
Forgot to turn the motor off, while watching favourite soap on TV. This routine is repeated every day in countless homes of this mega city.
[img src=]590Delhi water waste
Hauz Khas tank is a 13th century reservoir built by King Allauddin Khilji to supply water to the residents of Siri, a city in Delhi. It can continue to do so for residents of “new” Delhi if it’s cleaned up and cared for. According to national capital region planning board, Delhi can capture 364 billion litres of Rainwater Runoff.
[img src=]620Delhi water waste
Dead monuments such as “Agarasen ki Baoli” in Lutyen’s Delhi could become a living heritage. Delhi alone has 900 such water bodies; together they can store approx. 15-20 billion litres of rainwater¬. But most of these water bodies are dry, silted and/or filled with sewage
[img src=]600Delhi water waste
Residents and passersby overlook clean water leaking from faulty pipeline. Millions of liters will go down the drain before it is fixed. According to some estimates, Delhi looses 40% of its fresh water supply through leaky and rusted pipes; almost the same amount of water it will receive from building Renuka Dam.
[img src=]990Delhi water waste
Yet again, but this time it’s from the pipelines carrying potable water from Sonia Vihar Water Treatment Plant to South Delhi. Many more such ruptures leaking precious liquid can be spotted throughout the long stretch.
[img src=]600Delhi water waste
Yamuna Nala, which was once a river. Thanks to Delhi’s municipal waste and industrial effluents for its jet-black color, lethal foam and other items of refuse. According to some estimates, flood plains of Yamuna can store up to 1,500 billion litres of floodwater, if only its not encroached upon.
[img src=]480Delhi water waste
Water waste in Delhi: Yamuna is a revered river for Indians and thought to be protected by god themselves. But it seems even gods are not feeling well after drinking Yamuna's poison.

The Renuka Dam project proposed on Giri Ganga River (a tributary of Yamuna) located in Nahan, some 300 kilometers away from Delhi is a joint project of the Governments of Himachal Pradesh (HP) and Delhi. The storage dam will supply water exclusively to the national capital. Delhi hopes to meet 1250 MLD (Million Litres Daily) of its total 3500 MLD requirement from this project.

While Delhi stands to benefit, Renuka Valley will have to bear huge social and environmental cost. Around 750 families in 37 villages will be displaced and 1630 hectares of land, including 49 hectares of Reserve Sanctuary will be submerged . Farmers here grow tomatoes, ginger, potato, onions and other vegetables and fruits for Delhi and other urban markets. Close to 17 lakh trees will be destroyed. It is impossible to justify chopping of so many trees, which are our only safety net against global warming triggered Climate Change.

The proposition is hollow and frivolous in light of Delhi’s water wastage through corroded and leaky pipes, absolute waste of Rainwater, inhabitants apathy, polluted Yamuna and other disappearing water bodies. The entire wastage amounts to 1300 MLD (40% of the total 3500 MLD supplied to city which never reaches its people) In fact, mending just the leaking and corroded pipes will save 40% of Delhi’s current water supply.

There are many questions:
In fact Delhi is most pampered of the cities with 200 lpcd( liter per capita per day) availability, highest in the country. Why does it more water? Is there real scarcity of water of demand side mismanagement?
Delhi already gets water from Yamuna and Ganga directly, Tehri Dam and Bhakra Nangal Dam, so the question is how long can Delhi continue to ll its leaking bucket by extracting water from far and wide without fixing it?
The larger question is of equity: Why must communities living in Renuka ji support wasteful and careless lifestyle of Delhi?
Will Delhi allow its water to be siphoned of by someone else like it plans to do at Renuka ji?
Delhi Government and Citizens must answers these questions!!

7 Responses to Delhi’s Might, Renuka’s Plight

  1. Parul says:


    I work with Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi.I had read about an exhibition of your work on environment issues taking place at SAA, JNU. I am kind of clueless about the dates. We have a newsletter and we wanted to cover your show for it. Please do let us know of the schedule.

    Thanks and Best


  2. Pingback: Displacing Rural Communities for Delhi’s Drinking Water: Is the Renuka Dam Worth the Cost? : Project Groundswell

  3. Hemant Nitturkar says:

    Hi Neeraj,

    Great work, to point out the alternatives to such a wasteful plan. More strength to you.

    Best wishes,


  4. Pingback: Portraits of Delhi’s Water Crisis | Journal of Technology and Economic Development | Future Technology | Green Technology | Military Technology | Business | Trading | Finance | Computer | Robots | Entertainment | Games | GPS | Software | Music Tech

  5. Pingback: India’s Controversial Renuka Dam in Photos | Trip Sideways | Adventure Travel Magazine

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  7. Pingback: Displacing Rural Communities for Delhi’s Drinking Water: Is the Renuka Dam Worth the Cost? « Lakshmi Sarah Eassey

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