Water supply ‘partially restored’ in Delhi

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Water supply has been partially restored in the Indian capital, Delhi, where up to 10 million were affected after protesters sabotaged a key canal.

The army took control of the Munak canal in neighbouring Haryana state on Monday after Jat community members, angry at caste job quotas, damaged it.

Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra said the “crisis was still not over” and urged people to use water carefully.

The city’s schools, which were closed because of the crisis, have reopened.

Sixteen million people live in Delhi, and around three-fifths of the city’s water is supplied by the Munak canal, which runs through Haryana.

Mr Mishra tweeted on Tuesday morning that “some water has been released” from the canal. This had led to the restoration of partial supplies in north and central Delhi, he said.

He said more than 70 water tankers from these areas had been moved to the western part of the city, where partial supplies would be “hopefully” restored by Tuesday evening.

“The supply will be limited till the time the Munak [canal]is totally repaired. The crisis is not yet over. People should use water carefully,” he said.

The cutting of the canal will not directly affect those in the capital who live in homes without piped, running water – a large number of Delhi’s residents live in slums and other housing and rely on water tankers and other sources such as bore wells.

But the reduction in supply is having an affect across the city.

Senior water board official Neeraj Semwal told the AFP news agency that four of Delhi’s nine water treatment plants were operating, forcing rationing of supplies to many areas.

“We are hoping to restore partial services in the next two to three days and 100% supply within the next 15 days,” Mr Semwal said.

It is not clear how many households are still without water.

Prior warnings meant that people had managed to save water, and tankers had been despatched to affected areas of the city, but that this has not been enough to make up for the shortfall.

“My son works as a manager in a hotel so he leaves an hour early to take bath in his office,” Nikhat Parveen told Hindustan Times newspaper.

“For cooking and drinking purposes, I am buying packed water bottles.”

Vinod Kumar Sharma told the newspaper that his family rented a hotel room to bathe after going without a bath for two days.

The army took control of parts of the canal on Monday morning, but repairs are expected to take time. Eighteen people have been killed and hundreds injured in three days of riots.

Protesters went on the rampage despite a curfew and the deployment of the army, which is reported to have opened fire on them, in the districts of Rohtak and Jhajjar.

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