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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Shimla reels under acute drinking water shortage

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur admitted that there was a crisis of drinking water. “It’s because the feed sources/rivers/streams have gone dry. I have held two-three review meetings.

Written by Ashwani Sharma | Shimla |
May 28, 2018 4:28:28 am
Shimla drinking water shortage People wait to collect drinking water from tanker in Shimla Sunday. Pradeep Kumar

GRAPPLIING WITH an acute shortage of drinking water over the past week, residents of several parched Shimla localities Sunday threatened to put locks at the local Municipal Corporation (MC) even as private tankers pressed into service to supply water failed to meet demand.
The busy Mall Road, which tourists usually frequent on weekends, saw long queues of people rushing to get their fill of water upon the arrival of water tankers.

Inder Singh, a Congress councillor ,who was with public standing in queue for the drinking water alleged that municipal wards represented by the Congress were being selectively targeted. “There has been no water for the past six days. Despite being a Sunday, people spent hours in fetching water. I will submit my resignation in protest if the situation doesn’t change,” he claimed. In Sanjauli, one of the worst-hit localities, residents were forced to fetch water from local cremation ground on Bypass Road. Boilioe Ganj went without water for the seventh day in a row.

Local hospitals, both government and private, several schools, hostels (including girls hostels of the schools, colleges and university including Portmore, RKMV and Himachal Pradesh university and offices have no water for drinking, cooking and washing purposes. The water crisis has also forced some residents to leave Shimla even as hoteliers say there have been cancellations despite being tourists’ season. More than 35 localities have been badly hit by water scarcity and non-availability of drinking water.

The availability of water from all sources, meeting Shimla’s demand, has fallen to 22 million litres a day (MLD) against the normal availability of 42 MLD. This is mainly due to low water discharge in the sources due to dry spell in the region. “It’s an unusual situation if you look at past three years’ data. The water availability during summer plumed to 29 or 30 MLD during 2015, 2016 and 2017.This year, we are between 22 MLD or 23 MLD. That makes it tough to meet the demand,” said Shimla civic chief Rohit Jamwal.

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Jamwal has written to Deputy Commissioner Amit Kashyap to deploy 20 mobile water tankers of high capacity to supply affected areas. Some localities are facing low pressure supply and others were going without scheduled supplies as there is no water available to quench the thirst of the town. Currently the SMC has deployed eight tankers for rushing supplies to the areas going without water. Civic officials claim over 4 MLD of water goes waste .The water distribution system is very old and leaking pipes results in huge wastage of drinking water. The villagers in upstream areas have also diverted the water for irrigation. That has caused shortage at the feeding sources of water supply schemes.

Rakesh Chauhan, a resident of Summerhill area, said, “There is no water supply for four days. My family has not been able to cook. All household chores such as washing and bathing remain affected. The toilets have started stinking and could lead to outbreak of disease due to unhygienic conditions,” he said.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur admitted that there was a crisis of drinking water. “It’s because the feed sources/rivers/streams have gone dry. I have held two-three review meetings. The situation is being handled. The areas where the supply is not reaching were being fed by tankers. There is no cause of panic as we are alive to the situation.”

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