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U’khand Jal Sansthan seeks Rs 5 crore additional budget to deal with crisis


436 areas of U’khand facing severe drinking water crisis

By Arun Pratap Singh

Dehradun, 6 May: With each passing year, the drinking water crisis in Uttarakhand is only deepening further. This year, with temperatures rising above the normal already in the summer, the drinking water shortage seems to be highest ever. Even the Char Dham Yatra routes are facing shortage of drinking water despite the Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan gearing up to ensure that there is no such shortage. This year, many more natural resources including the seasonal springs have dried up, mainly due to less rainfall and snowfall in the winters and the spring months. As per the Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan, a total of 436 areas in the state have been identified as having severe water crisis. These include 238 rural areas.

A separate plan is being prepared by the Jal Sansthan to ensure that there is no shortage of drinking water on the Chardham routes. There are a large number of areas in the state, not only in the urban areas but also in the rural areas, where water crisis has become severe. There are 198 urban areas in Uttarakhand, which have been identified with severe potential drinking water crisis in the coming months. In addition, 238 rural areas have also been identified as areas with potential water crisis in over the next few months.

In order to cope with the drinking water crisis, Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan is seeking an additional budget of Rs 5 crores for the next few months, This also includes cost of renting additional tankers. Currently, Jal Sansthan has only 69 water tankers owned by it across the state, whereas an additional need of 142 tankers has been felt. The Jal Sansthan is willing to hire the services of these tankers. In order to take further measures to deal with the impending crisis, the Jal Sansthan has sought an additional budget of Rs 5 crores from the state government.

In addition to the areas that have been identified as those with potential water crisis in coming months, there are many other regions and areas where the traditional natural water resources like nullahs and springs, etc., are on the verge of drying up and, as a result, drinking water availability is becoming a major problem in the hills and in rural areas. As far as cities in the plains are concerned, most of these are largely dependent on ground water being extracted through tubewells and then supplied. Here, too, the scientists have been warning that the ground water level is going deeper every year. In the hills, the natural water sources are being reported to be drying up to a concerning extent over the past few years.

It may be recalled that, recently, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami had also held a review meeting of the department in this matter, at which concern was expressed over the current situation in the state.

Neelima Garg, Chief General Manager of Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan, has stated that in view of the problem of drinking water in summer, the Jal Sansthan has identified all the possible drinking water crisis areas. Necessary arrangements are also being made to deal with the problem.

Along the Yatra routes, the Jal Sansthan has installed 199 tank type standposts, 371 pillar type standposts, 1066 hand pumps and 62 Charahis besides 47 water purifiers and 39 Water ATMs. The Jal Sansthan also claims that 20 tankers have also been deployed, and the remaining 74 tankers have also been identified for rent. The challenge is not just to ensure water availability for the pilgrims along the Yatra routes but also for the local residents in surrounding areas.