Scarcity of drinking water in Imphal as riverbeds dry up
IMPHAL, March 21
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hile the world is all set to observe the World Water Day tomorrow, Imphalites are facing scarcity of drinking water for the last few days due to the drying up of Imphal and Iril riverbed.
“With the drying up of Imphal river bed, most of the houses depend on private water tankers since last one month,” said Irom Gogo, a resident of Singjamei Keithel in Imphal. Similarly, people residing along the downstream of Imphal river (from Singjamei onwards) also relying on private water tankers for their daily use.
The drying up of Iril river, the another major water supplier of the state, forced the state-run Public Health Engineering Department(PHED) to stop supplying water to the tanker operators at their Porompat water reservoir in Imphal for the last few days.“Unless the water level increases, we will be unable to supply water to tanker operators as we prioritise our supply to the local habitation in the Imphal East district,” a PHED official said
Otherwise PHED uses to supply a minimum of 50 water tankers (a tanker’s capacity is 10,000 litres) on a daily basis over and above the regular water supply to Kongpal, Nongmeibung, Khurai, new Lambulane, Officers colony, JNIMS hospital etc in the district.
According to the Census of India (2011), 33.9 per cent of Imphal East district’s 91,806 households are getting water from tap, 18.2 per cent from river and canals and 18.2 per cent from pond/tank whereas 13.6 from hand pumps. Similarly, 57.2 per cent of Imphal West district’s 1, 11, 393 households are getting water from tap, 7.2 per cent from river and canals, 20.4 per cent from pond/tank whereas 3.4 per cent from hand pumps.
But environmentalists here feel that the large scale deforestation in the catchment areas, lack of comprehensive regulations and control over the use of water, changes in the annual rainfall pattern, etc., are the main reasons for the shortage of drinking water in Manipur.
Researchers here said rainwater and groundwater besides the wetlands were the main water sources of the State which comprises of 1,820 sq km of flat alluvial valley and 20,507 sq km of hilly terrain which forms a part of the Himalayan mountain system where the natural sources of water are fast depleting due to rampant deforestation.
The best way to maintain the water security of the region is to preserve the forests in the water catchment areas, experts said, adding, another method is to harvest rain water and construct check dams.