Imphal and other outlying areas are at present facing acute scarcity of water while the PHED minister is trying to pass the buck to nature saying that if it does not rain in the next few weeks water supply to consumers will stop completely. The first question is, cessation of water supply is only for the common people and general public or does it include the VVIPs including the minister himself also.
The Water Supply scheme managed by PHED inside the sacred Kangla is practically responsible for supply of water to most of VVIPs in Imphal area. While the Chief Minister is busy trying to reassure the general public about the efforts of the government to avail drinking water by identifying water filling stations and hasten the process of supplying water from Chingkhei Ching Water Treatment Plant, the PHED minister seems to think that his job is to regularly inform the general public about the status of water supply capability and not of ensuring regular water supply.
At least now, he is not busy touring the hills of the state scanning poppy fields in a helicopter and supplying scythes (thanghai) to the personnel engaged in whittling poppy plants. It has been quite some time that water from Thoubal or Maphou Dam has reached Chingkhei Ching Water Treatment plant and from there the laying of pipes and works for supply of drinking water to various water supply schemes in Imphal is going on in earnest. But one does not understand why it is taking so much time to supply water to the city areas.
As we said earlier, safe drinking water is basic in the life of the common people, which the state government needs to ensure. Everyone in the world is talking about the water crisis looming large in view of the diminishing water sources and the impact of climate change. Water covers 70 per cent of our planet, and it is easy to think that it will always be plentiful. However, freshwater, the stuff we drink, bathe in, irrigate our farm fields with, is incredibly rare.
Only 3 per cent of the world’s water is freshwater, and two-thirds of that is tucked away in frozen glaciers or otherwise unavailable for our use. As a result, some 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water, and a total of 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year. Many of the water systems that keep ecosystems thriving and feed a growing human population have become stressed. Rivers, lakes and aquifers are drying up or becoming too polluted to use.
More than half the world’s wetlands have disappeared. Agriculture consumes more water than any other source and wastes much of that through inefficiencies. Ecosystems around the world will suffer even more. India is currently facing the biggest water crisis in its history. In fact, it is considered the centre of the global water crisis. The problem is so big, our lives, livelihoods, and futures hang in the balance.
Imphal city has been facing a drinking water crisis for the last six/seven months or so. Water is not flowing in the PHED pipes anymore since the last six/seven months and people are buying water from private water tankers at exorbitant rates and no one seems to bother. Major portions of Imphal city have been facing water scarcity and have had to depend on private water tankers. In fact, private water supply has become a booming business.
On the other hand, the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) comes up with notifications like such and such water supply schemes would not be able to supply drinking water for lack of sufficient stock. It is true, water reservoirs and rivers have gone dry. But, what is the department doing about it? If the notification is meant for the public to use water sparingly, it is alright. The general public should not waste water which is being supplied through the pipes, in some areas. However, we understand that PHED is not there to just inform the general public about the water stock position. It is there to ensure regular supply of safe drinking water to the general public in the backdrop of much vaunted Jal Jeevan Mission and other schemes.