Water scarcity leaves Shimla high and dry

SHIMLA: Residents in the city are reeling under acute water shortage for the last few days.

Water scarcity leaves Shimla high and dry

A tanker supplies water on the Mall Road in Shimla on Friday. Photo: Amit Kanwar

editorial@tribune.com

Kuldeep Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, May 25

Residents in the city are reeling under acute water shortage for the last few days. They are getting rationed water supply after four-five days.

While the residents are buying bottled water for drinking and cooking, hoteliers are solely depending on tankers in the tourist season.

“There is no water in our kitchen or bathroom for the last five days. We have never experienced such a shortage in the city earlier,” said Kartik, a resident of Lakkar Bazaar.

“Hoteliers are paying private tankers Rs 2,600 for 6,000 litre water,” said Harnan Kukreja, president, Shimla Hoteliers’ Association. The Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) is struggling to ration 21 MLD of water that was pumped from its major sources these days. The water availability per resident was just 5 litre as on Friday.

“As water is mostly utilised for cooking and drinking, using it for sanitation has become the last priority, while bathing has become a luxury for us,” said Adript Thakur, a student.

The SMC is running eight tankers round the clock. The city needs 45 MLD water daily, but the water availability has come down from 29 MLD last week to 21 MLD on Friday. Guma, which has 20 MLD capacity, and Giri, which has 20 MLD capacity, could supply just 4 MLD and 14 MLD, respectively, revealed MC supply chart. Churat supplied 1.25 MLD, Chair (0.32 MLD) and Koti- Brandi (0.35 MLD).

Around 4-5 MLD water is getting wasted due to leakages in supply lines before it reaches MC storage tanks in the city. “The BJP-led MC has failed to provide water to its residents and hence its Mayor should resign,” said former Mayor Sanjay Chauhan. The state government and the MC have failed to compensate for the water that it used to get from the Ashwani khud, supply from where was suspended in 2015 following a jaundice outbreak in the city.

“Water sources are depleting fast due to scanty rain. We are trying to add 3 MLD extra water from Guma and Giri and have asked the IPH Department to release water downstream, which was so far being used by villagers,” said Municipal Commissioner Rohit Jamwal.

“We are now getting about 0.5 MLD from the Grah-Khawandal water scheme, which is being supplied to people in Tutu and Majath wards,” he said. “To meet the water needs in the coming weeks, the MC is floating tenders to press in service private tankers to lift water from Chaba,” he added.

Crisis at peak 

The city needs 45 MLD water daily, but the water availability has come down from 29 MLD last week to 21 MLD on Friday. Guma, which has 20 MLD capacity, and Giri, which has 20 MLD capacity, could supply just 4 MLD and 14 MLD, respectively.

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