The dilemma of water scarcity

The dilemma of water scarcity

Plenty of water; lack of infrastructure ails Kiphire


Morung Express News
Kiphire | March 20


While depletion of water resources looms large in many parts of Nagaland, Kiphire district is fortunate. It has enough perennial springs and rivers to tide the citizens of this district even in the driest of times.


Despite nature’s abundance, lack of adequate infrastructure to tap water from the sources has made its availability in this district, which pride itself of being surrounded by water in all corners, inadequate and seasonal.


More than a decade after Kiphire was inaugurated as the eleventh district of Nagaland on January 2004; nothing much has changed in the infrastructural and development front.


Decades old rusted pipes which was installed by the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), when the district was an administrative sub-division under Tuensang district still shoulders the responsibility of supplying water to the district.


And with increase in population which continue to grow and expand, the 500 odd consumers enjoying water supply from the PHE department is not even one third of the town’s population.


It is learnt that the department’s current water supply capacity with 65mm in diameter pipe is not enough and need enhancement to a higher capacity of at least 200 mm dia pipe.


Even as demand for water connectivity increase every day, the department cannot provide, not due to lack of water resources but for the lack of infrastructure development.


In the midst of such artificial paucity, citizens are left with no alternatives but to depend on private cable owners who supplies water with a heavy price. With a cost of Rs 4000 for installation (which is non refundable) and monthly bill of Rs 350, the convenience of having water supplied every day is a luxury that many cannot afford.
Health hazard is another serious issue. The water quality supplied by private cable owners cannot be guaranteed as safe since there is no regulation in place to check on the water quality.


Despite these collaterals, public still throng to the private suppliers for the water supply connection- because there is no other option or they are ignorant of the health issues related to water.


“With water scarcity problem and demand for water supply growing each day, it has become difficult to accommodate all consumers,” Aseba, a private cable distributer told this correspondent.


There are at least 1000 cable consumers in Kiphire town alone. And this figure is not even half of the demand we receive for water connection, he said. On the business venture of private water cable operators and water truck carriers, the PHE department is not complaining either.


An official said private cable owners and water carrier trucks were in a way helping the department because we get “fewer disturbances/complaints as citizens get water despite the exorbitant price.”


As citizens endure, the continuing rhetoric from the PHE department official is that Kiphire will overflow with water only if the infrastructure is improved. Even the river for the main water source-Mitrikyu, is just 15 kilometer away from town.


And for those citizens who can’t afford the expensive water from private cable operators or have not been fortunate enough to be one amongst PHE’s 500 consumers, it back to the traditional wells- with cans and buckets and walking the long distance.


Dimapur gripped by water shortage


Morung Express News
Dimapur | March 20


Dimapur is in the grip of a severe water crisis. With months of dry spells and decreasing groundwater levels, many parts of the city are experiencing water shortage like never before.


Ring wells are drying up and even tube wells are unable to pump water in many parts of the city. Citizens of Dimapur are worried that the situation may get worse in the days to come.


According to an independent survey, some of the worse affected areas are the city’s populous settlements. A resident of Signal Basti told this reporter that her ring well dried up in February and she now relies solely on the water pump. However, low power voltage is a problem in the area and she can operate the water pump only in the morning hours.
In Burma Camp, one Biju Das buys four tins of “clean water” for consumption every day since the common ring well that his family draws water from doesn’t produce sufficient water anymore. Das said that he has to get up early to fetch water or else it becomes muddy after drawing five or six buckets.


Even areas like Nagarjan, Thilixu and Chekiye, which generally do not experience much water shortage, are facing problems.


In Chekiye village, not only are ring wells drying up, some residents are unable to pump water from their bore wells. The situation is worse in the adjoining village Ikishe, where residents are reportedly reeling under severe water shortage.


Severe enough that some women in these areas were reported to have disposed their flowers and green plants due to the water shortage.


The crisis is looming large even in areas like Purana Bazar and 2 ½ mile areas, where water is generally found in abundance.


With the ever increasing population in Dimapur and its surrounding areas, water has become a precious commodity.
Till several years ago, the city hardly faced any water problems and most of the citizens depended solely on ring wells and hand pumps.


Soon people began digging bore wells at an accelerated rate, causing ground water levels to decline. People are now reported to be digging up to 200 feet underground to get water.


The present water crisis in Dimapur is no longer a regular dry season phenomenon. The city appears to be heading for serious water problems even in the near future.


According to official records, only 33, 970 households in Dimapur have access to water supplied by the department of Public Health Engineering (PHE), which is less than 10% of the entire population.


Many citizens opine that the monsoon will only bring temporary relief and that the government needs to start tackling the water shortage problem in Dimapur immediately.