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Deforestation: Ukhrul reels under water scarcity
Source: The Sangai Express / Mungchan Zimik

Ukhrul, March 16 2019: The rapid disappearance of water sources/water bodies has worsened the water crisis in Ukhrul town, demonstrating the impact of climate change in the district.

Many of the traditional ponds that provide potable water have turned dry while the water sources at Shirui village have also taken a big hit, largely impacting water supply to Ukhrul district headquarters.

Interacting with this correspondent, a number of officials from the PHE Department and local people of Ukhrul town said that the growing water shortage at the district headquarters is a clear indication of how climate change has impacted on water availability.

The environmental degradation is largely due to the uncontrolled human activities for their economic wants, they pointed out.

An elderly person from Ukhrul town, H Wormi said that indiscriminate deforestation has affected normal water cycle.

Elaborating, he said Ukhrul had a short dry season in the past (from January to April) but now the dry season is anywhere from November to May and this is a sure sign of climate change.

He added that about 30 years back there was no pipe or tap water connection in the town and the people managed with traditional water pond for drinking and other purposes.

Now, majority of the population are supplied tap water yet the whole populace still reel under acute water shortage every year, he noted.

Officials of PHE Dept, Ukhrul informed that the daily requirement of drinking water in the town is 13.5 lakh litres, however intake capacity from Shirui water source is less than 4 lakh litres.

In order to meet the demand for water, PHE Dept has requested Shirui village for additional water source to increase the volume of water intake, but it is yet unable fill the reservoir tanks at Ukhrul.

Hence roster system is followed while supplying water during dry season.

The immediate causes for dry water sources are uncontrolled deforestation and rapid urbanization that has lowered the water table at most of the slope areas.

Ukhrul town has more than 70,000 people.

This means that the demand for water has increased over the years accompanied by more depletion of water table and shrinkage of water sources, resulting in acute water shortage.

Although Ukhrul receives high rainfall during monsoon, the water cannot be retained in the higher slopes due to fast depletion of forest land.

Situation is such that in Ukhrul town 1000 litres of water is sold at Rs 800 currently.

Although PHE Department has constructed buffer water reservoir for mobile distribution of water in the town during lean season this measure has not be able to address the question of water scarcity.


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