DELHI, India, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The government regained control of the main canal that supplies water to New Delhi and the surrounding area today, allowing schools to re-open, but the full restoration of water could take up to two weeks, officials say.
Protesters from the Jat community seized the canal Friday, and went further upstream to close off the water supply after the army took control of the canal Monday. Both banks of the canal were breached along a 250-foot section, and will need repair.
New Delhi, India's capital city of 16 million, is expected to have half its normal supply of clean water available Tuesday, officials said. The Munak Canal, which delivers up to 60 percent of Delhi's water, must still be repaired.
"The supply will be limited till the time the Munak is totally repaired. The crisis is not yet over. People should use water carefully," said Kapil Mishra, the city's water minister.
Eighteen people died in rioting thus far, with hundreds injured. The Jat community, regarded as affluent and well-educated, is protesting decisions by Indian courts to deny it legal status available to lower castes in Indian society that all but guarantee government jobs and educational opportunities. As private sector jobs have declined in India, the Jats seek reinstatement of their "backward caste status."