TODAY -

Water crisis here to stay
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: January 17, 2023 -



TAKING into account of the alarming rate of deforestation in the hilly and catchment areas for agricultural purposes or plantation of drug extractable crops, gradual disappearance of water bodies in the plains and multi-crore water supply projects either pending completion years, after their launch or existing ones bereft of repairing initiatives, it's not surprising that the state, Imphal in particular, continues to experience acute shortage of potable water since the last few decades.

Though water crisis during the drier months is not an issue confined to Manipur alone as some developed European nations had already been encountering similar situation some months now as a consequence of the global warming phenomenon, it's an undeniable fact that soon after the rainy seasons end the state usually face drought-like situation.

In some hill districts, onset of the winter months is that time of the year when the denizens have to wake up early and head for the springheads on a daily basis whereas for the valley dwellers the dry spell means additional expenditure to stock human's most necessary item from the private water tanks.

Another common practice during the dry spell is the supply of water from government-operated schemes either on roster system or complete cessation till the situation improves contrary to the private water tankers, packaged/bottled water manufacturing firms and car wash centres doing business as usual.

Fortunately, in the valley districts, the increasing number of private water supply tankers and outlets dealing in packaged water has been able to reduce impact of water crisis to some extent.

Owing to various factors, shortage of potable water especially during the lean season has been a perennial problem in the state, which interestingly still has vast sources of water bodies including rivers, lakes and community ponds.

While some of the water bodies in and around the twin capital districts had been filled with earth or converted into dumping sites to eventually make way for structural constructions, many large ponds are still being preserved in the rural areas that help the community tide over water crisis even if the state faces drought-like situation.

Therefore, with exception of shortage of water for irrigation purpose the suburban and rural residential pockets are unlikely to face much of an issue compared to the hills and the densely populated Imphal, where regular water supply has already ceased or suspended due to low water level in the rivers.

With the monsoons still some months away, it could be safely predicted that the water crisis will intensify, unless there is unseasonal rainfall or till actual onset of the monsoons.

Since time immemorial, rain-fed thick vegetation in the catchment areas had been feeding the rivers flowing through the state and as such it is but natural that stripping bare the hills would naturally accelerate the river water drying process soon after cessation of the seasonal rainfall.

The water crisis recurring every year in the state is an issue that no amount of central intervention and financial sympathy would help address unless the public realise the importance of sustainable usage of forest resources, if unable or unwilling to contribute to its regeneration.



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