Climate Change

North India Deluge 2023: Yamuna crosses evacuation mark in Delhi; highest since 1978

Rising levels of water in the Yamuna are measured at three levels — warning level at 204.50 metres, danger level at 205.33 metres, and evacuation level at 206 metres

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 11 July 2023

In the past three days, countless homes have flooded and properties worth millions have been destroyed across North India. And the case of our national capital is no different.

On July 10, 2023, the Yamuna river in Delhi crossed the warning mark. Its level reached 204.63 metres. 

Heavy rainfall in the upper catchment of Ganga’s longest tributary has led to widespread flooding across the city, inundating the premises of parks, underpasses, markets, and hospitals. This has also led to growing concerns about the city’s drainage infrastructure.

“The reason behind this surge in water level is the release of more water into the Yamuna from the Hathnikund barrage upstream in Haryana. Incessant rainfall has taken place in northwest India over the last three days with many areas in Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan recording heavy to extreme precipitation,” Anil Bharti, additional chief engineer, Delhi Jal Board told Down To Earth.

On Jul 11, 2023, things went a bit further with the water levels in the Yamuna at the Old Railway Bridge reaching 206.34 metres, crossing the evacuation mark. This is the highest since 1978’s all-time record water level of 207.49 metres.

Rising levels of water in the Yamuna are measured at three levels — warning level at 204.50 m, danger level at 205.33 m, and evacuation level at 206 m.

The Delhi government claims to have evacuated about 7,500 people so far to temporary camps. Also, in many places, people have erected temporary structures on higher grounds to escape rising waters.

The government has set up 16 control rooms to monitor the flood-prone areas and the water level of the Yamuna. Temporary camps have also been set up at ITO, Kashmere Gate, and the DND Flyway.

At the July 10 press conference, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal assured the government is prepared to tackle any eventualities.

The Yamuna originates at the Yamunotri glacier in Uttarakhand and spans around 22 km in the capital. Its floodplains have been encroached by settlers over the years with about 37,000 people estimated to be living there. With the water level reaching beyond danger levels, the lives of these settlers have slipped into deep uncertainty.

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