Silt chokes water sources; Shimla in crisis

SHIMLA:Residents in the state capital have been facing acute water shortage for the last 24 hours as the major sources — Giri, Gumma and Ashwani Khud — have been filled with debris and silt.

Silt chokes water sources; Shimla in crisis


Kuldeep Chauhan 

Tribune News Service 

Shimla, August 19

Residents in the state capital have been facing acute water shortage for the last 24 hours as the major  sources — Giri, Gumma and Ashwani Khud — have been filled with debris and silt. 

Shimla Jal Prabandhan Nigam Limited (SJPNL) has failed to protect these water sources from the floods, which are an annual feature and leave the city in deep crisis. 

Most areas of the city did not receive even a drop of water today as the SJPNL diverted the supply to  Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Kamla Nehru Hospital, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, some VIP areas and government establishments to tide over the shortage. 

But the supply was inadequate and patients too had to suffer. The SJPNL could lift only 10.94 MLD of water from all five sources in the last 24 hours due to high silt level and floods, which washed away a 150-m long feeder pipe of the Koti-Barandi water scheme. Against the water availability of 10.94 MLD, the  city needs 45 MLD  of water daily.  

The residents said they had no option but to buy packaged water. Many filled buckets with rainwater for household chores. 

As the tourist footfall dipped drastically last week due to heavy rainfall, hoteliers said they did not have to worry as the occupancy was low. 

The city’s water crisis is not new. Every time it rains in the catchment areas of the water sources, the SJPNL faces the same problem. It is unable to lift water due to high silt level.

Due to the rain, Giri, Gumma and Ashwani Khud, three main sources of water supply, are flooded with silt and debris, making it impossible for the SJPNL to lift water.   

“The authority is planning to build check-dams and de-silting structures to arrest the flow of debris and silt. This will also save the feeder pipes from damage. Technology is available to take care of such problems,” said an IPH engineer. 

Not only this, the SJPNL faces hiccups in pumping water from the Giri and Gumma schemes when the load of electricity at the pumping stations is not as per the requirement. 

 Chief Executive Officer, SJPNL, Dharmender Gill said  they had restored the pumping of water from all sources — Giri, Gumma and Koti Barandi.  “We hope the supply will be normalised in a day or two in the city. When silt and debris discharge from the upper catchments is high, it  makes pumping impossible. We have built up  intake structures,” he added. 

Water pumping

Noti                    2.62 MLD
Gumma             8.92 MLD
Giri                     0.00 MLD
Churat               0.64 MLD
Seyoug              0.62 MLD
Chaid                 0.49 MLD
Koti Barandi       0.27 MLD
Total discharge  10.94 MLD


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