Agra: With the Yamuna totally dry and a fast depleting water table, the citizens of Agra are facing an acute water shortage.
Against a demand of 400 MLD, the current water supply is only around 250 MLD and the Mayor, Navin Jain, who heads the Jal Sansthan, has stepped up efforts to stop wastage of water and ensure operational efficiency of the pumping stations.
Citizens' protests, demanding more water, have become an everyday affair.
<div id='ndtvrelcontent'></div"Those living in the distant colonies are hard hit. In some areas, the groundwater level has fallen below 200 feet. The hand-pumps are also not working," Megh Singh, a lawyer living in the Avas Vikas Colony, told PTI.
Local MLA Yogendra Upadhyaya said, "We are trying to speed up the Ganga Jal project. The committee appointed by the Supreme Court has been handed over all the documents related to the project and we expect a clearance very soon."
The Rs 3,000-crore, 130-km-long pipeline from Bulandshahr district will bring the water of the Ganges to the new Water Works at Sikandra. The formal opening of the project has thrice been postponed for one reason or the other. Jal Nigam officials say the project can now only be commissioned in August.
The work is held up as the permission for chopping trees has been delayed.
Meanwhile, river activists have demanded desilting and dredging of the Yamuna riverbed ahead of the monsoon to open up the choked aquifers and create additional storage capacity.
"Tons of plastic and polythene, waste leather cuttings from the shoe factories are preventing water seepage. The riverbed needs an urgent cleaning. Only then will the water level go up in the monsoon," Harendra Gupta of the River Connect Campaign said.
Surendra Sharma, president of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society, an NGO, said the Yamuna needed a thorough cleaning.
"The river should be full of water. Without water in the river, the Taj Mahal is hit due to air pollution. Toxic and polluted water flowing from the cities in the upstream is damaging the monuments along the river bank. The government should wake up and speed up the Yamuna barrage project for Agra," he added.