The water level on the Yamuna river in Delhi receded slightly but was still above the warning mark of 204.5 metres, officials said on Thursday. The Delhi government’s flood control room said the water level on the river dipped from 204.89 metres at 7 am on Wednesday to 204.66 metres at 8 am on Thursday. A forecast from the Central Water Commission said the water level is likely to drop to 204.5 metres by 5 pm. The river had breached the danger mark of 205.33 metres on Friday last, prompting authorities to evacuate around 7,000 people from low-lying areas. The water level had receded below the warning mark on Monday and stood at 203.96 metres at 6 pm on Tuesday.
However, it again crossed the warning mark on Tuesday night with Haryana releasing more water from the Hathnikund barrage amid rains in the upper catchment areas. Officials said they are keeping a close watch on the situation as more rains are likely in upper catchment areas of the river.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said widespread rainfall “with isolated heavy falls” is very likely over Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand over the next two-three days. The catchment of the Yamuna river system covers parts of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.
Last week, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to people to avoid going towards the banks of the river. A flood alert is declared in Delhi when the discharge rate from the Hathnikund barrage in Haryana’s Yamuna Nagar crosses the one lakh-cusecs mark and people living near the floodplains and in flood-prone areas are evacuated.
The discharge rate was 2.21 lakh cusecs at 3 pm on Thursday last week, the highest so far this year. Normally, the flow rate at the Hathnikund barrage is 352 cusecs, but the discharge increases after heavy rainfall in the catchment areas. The water discharged from the barrage normally takes two to three days to reach the national capital.
The low-lying areas in Delhi near the river are considered vulnerable to flooding. They are home to around 37,000 people.