Wednesday, March 29, 2017
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Water crisis to deepen as demand-supply gap widens

29 Mar 2017 | 1:24 AM

JAMMU: Although the state has abundant water resources, but the gap between demand and reliable supply of water is widening with each passing year with the state entering a period of chronic water shortage.

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Sumit Hakhoo

Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 28

Although the state has abundant water resources, but the gap between demand and reliable supply of water is widening with each passing year with the state entering a period of chronic water shortage.

The situation is likely to worsen as climate change is leaving an adverse impact on the availability of natural sources hitting ambitious plans of the government to exploit the existing sources.

The public “rationing of water” by the Public Health Engineering (PHE) Department has become a routine now. The condition is even worse in the Kandi belt of the state.

The focus is on creating new infrastructure, which includes pumping stations and overhead water tanks, across the state under various Centre-sponsored schemes and investment in scientific utilisation of the existing infrastructure as majority of the people living in urban centres and rural areas are facing scarcity of water, notably during the summer months.

As per the norms of the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation, drinking water is to be supplied at the rate of 135 litres per capita per day.

But the state, having two capital cities — Srinagar and Jammu — with a combined population of 26.12 lakh (including floating population), faces deficit of 11.86 million gallon daily (MGD).

“The requirement for urban areas is 116.22 MGD, against which total operational capacity of 104.36 MGD has been created, thereby leaving a deficit of 11.86 MGD as on date,” according to the data gathered by the Public Health Engineering (PHE) Department.

According to the data, urban population in towns of state is 14.48 lakh, which require 74.80 MGD, against which present installed capacity is 33.78 MGD, leaving a deficit of 41.02 MGD.

Similarly, under the rural water supply system, the state has a population of 91.08 lakh and the total requirement of water works out to 147.72 MGD. The present installed capacity is 92.13 MGD, thereby leaving a deficit of 55.59 MGD.

Chief Engineer, PHE, Sushil Aima said several projects had been taken up to increase the capacity to end the water crisis. “Institutional arrangements are being strengthened. Several schemes are being formulated to increase the capacity of suppling water. Things will improve,” Aima said.

However, the government had admitted in the Legislative Assembly that in Rajouri, Poonch, Kandi belt of Jammu, Doda and Kishtwar the water level (underground and overground) have fallen leading to depletion of sources hitting the distribution projects leaving thousands of people without potable water during winter and summer months.

Recently Minster for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Sham Lal Choudhary had claimed that the department was taking various initiatives to provide potable drinking in inaccessible areas and special focus is being given to supply water for irrigation to every agricultural field.

“We are aware of the problem and a draft State Water Policy and Plan has been formulated and put on public domain. A detailed study is also being carried out to explore new underground sources of water,” Choudhary said.

In recent years, traditional ponds, wells and seasonal rivulets have dried up leading to discontent among the population which at times turn violent, especially in the Kandi belt, which could go worse in coming years.

Water crisis to deepen as demand-supply gap widensA girl fills drinking water in a bucket from a leaking pipe of the PHE Department in a slum area of Jammu. Tribune file photo: Inderjeet Singh
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