Extreme heatwave causes power and water crisis, northern India

Extreme heatwave causes power and water crisis, northern India

India's heat wave has intensified in last couple of days, particularly in the north, where temperatures reached almost 50 degrees Celsius on Sunday, May 8th. Many northern cities are recording their highest temperatures in years. Emergency meeting is scheduled today to discuss the ongoing power and water shortage crisis. 

Abnormal temperatures have led to a dramatic spike in the demand for power, from 8 000 to 11 000 megawatts, and the resulting blackouts have shut down air conditioning units and water pumps.

In Delhi, the maximum temperature touched a 62-year high at 47.8 degree Celsius on Sunday. City malls were told they will not receive power after 10 pm and street lamps will be switched off at the same time for three hours. Government offices, universities and colleges have been instructed to switch off air conditioning units between 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm. 

Delhi residents had been particularly angry about the power cuts after receiving reliable supplies through the Indian elections, which ended May 16. Since then, only some regions have been guaranteed unbroken power supplies, while others have received little to none, Al Jazeera reports.

Residents say VIP parts of Delhi which house top politicians are not being penalized. (TimesofAP)

In the state of Uttar Prades, thousands of people enraged by blackouts rioted on Friday, setting fire to substations and taking power company officials hostage. The state never has enough power for its population of 200 million. Many people only receive it for a few hours a day, and over 60 percent of homes have no access to electricity at all.

"Some experts feel the sudden rise in temperatures is the outcome of rapid urbanization - partly due to an unrestrained increase of vehicles on the roads as well as large-scale construction eating into green patches. This means higher levels of carbon dioxide are being trapped in the atmosphere, raising pollution levels to the point that “intense heat waves” are created.

While Delhi may be far away from the Himalayas, the problem has reached the hilly regions of Jammu and Kashmir. Once rich in water supply, rivers are drying up in the heat - leaving villagers in the Poonch district with a water crisis." (Channel NewsAsia)

National met department said the heat wave in northern states will extend at least until Thursday. The monsoon rainfall will be inadequate, it warns.

States like Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh may face drought.

Featured image: Taj Mahal at sunset by http://www.flickr.com/photos/16069488@N00/14029167044

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