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A dam that would make Delhi self sufficient in Water and aid 5 other States!

Aug 29, 2018

A dam that would make Delhi self sufficient in Water and aid 5 other States!
A dam that would make Delhi self sufficient in Water and aid 5 other State | Credit: Hindustantimes

As the news of Lakhwar-Vyasi dam makes the rounds, leading environmentalists said damming the Yamuna river would have an adverse ecological implication, followed by reduced water inflow to lower riparian states including Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

The Central Government signed an agreement, with six states on Tuesday, to construct the Lakhwar – Vyasi, a multi-purpose dam on the banks of Yamuna river, to meet the irrigation, and the drinking water needs of downstream partnering states, including national capital Delhi.

Nitin Gadkari, union water resources minister, said at an event marking the signing of the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) for the project:

“Delhi will not face water problem for the next 20 – 25 years once the project is completed. Cities in Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh will also gain from this project.”

The project, which will cost 40,000 crore rupees and is expected to be completed by 2023 made headlines following the agreement.

The multi-purpose project in the upper Yamuna river basin area will also generate about 300 MW of power, which Uttarakhand is expected to receive – as they are bearing the costs of putting up the power generating systems. According to the agreement, Central Government will bear 90 percent of the project cost. The remaining 10 percent will be borne by the six states.

But environmentalists have said that damming the Yamuna river would have adverse ecological setbacks and reduce the inflow of water to lower riparian states such as Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP – South Asia Network of Dams Rivers and People, said: “In non-monsoon months Yamuna will not exist downstream of Dehradun district once all these dams are built.”

The project aims a 204-metre high concrete dam on the Yamuna river banks at Lohari village in the Dehradun district. The dam will have carrying capacity of 33.66 MCM – million cubic metres of water, which will be used to help irrigate 33,780 hectares of land and also provide 78.83 million cubic metres of water for industrial and domestic use for the six states, according to a statement made by the Central Government. The Lakhwar dam water reservoir will be regulated and run by the Upper Yamuna River Board as per the water distribution agreement made in 1994.

Nitin Gadkari announced that apart from the Lakhwar project, the Renukaji and Kisau projects will also be built in the upper Yamuna river basin. For Kisau project, a 236m high concrete dam is to be built on Tons river, a stream of Yamuna river in Dehradun district. For the Renukaji project, a 148m high dam is to be built on Giri river, another offshoot of Yamuna river in Siramaur district in Himachal Pradesh.

He claimed that his government has proactively invested time in researching on projects that would benefit the people governed by his party as well as other local state governments – showing no bias and discrimination. He also added that since his party came into office, people have overwhelmingly supported or backed the Centre’s policies and that the government has heard all the reservations and criticisms made against the project by both environmentalists as well as other organisations, which include notable international bodies.

Mr Gadkari noted that the nation’s capital – Delhi – will be getting water from all the three dams. Trivendra Singh Rawat, Uttarakhand chief minister, said Lakhwar is a national project and that the six partner states will immensely benefit and also help his own (state) meet its “power needs” generated by the new project, which Uttarakhand help to build.

The project, which is both big in the scale of money allocated and timeframe, will come into usage only by 2023. Many sceptics fear that the government might rollback on its promise as the project is complex, given that six states need to agree upon the development at every stage, including allotting 10 percent of the estimated cost that the states need to contribute.