Shimla is witnessing acute water crisis. Water almost dried up in the Nauti-Khad stream, a water-body which is one of the key sources feeding Gumma, which is Shimla’s oldest water supply scheme.
The main factors leading to the problem of water shortage include:
- Adverse climatic conditions leading to reduced flow in the streams and scant & erratic rainfall.
- Unplanned development and over-exploitation of water resources.
- Change in vegetation pattern leading to a shrinking tree cover (this leads to excess silt formation thus chocking the streams).
- Unscientific dumping of debris and muck in water streams.
- Change in farming pattern from growing less water consuming crops like pulses and wheat to more water consuming items like vegetables. Heavy use of fertilizers is also reducing fertility and changing the soil profile.
- Heavy footfall of tourists and unregulated business of hotels and home-stays.
Moreover, the mechanization of the water drawing process has led to over-consumption of water. Mismanagement by state agencies, poor distribution system which is a hundred years old, poor maintenance of pipelines, consistent leakage and illegal tapping of water also contributed to the problem.
What steps must be taken:
- Modernizing the water drawing and delivery system which is over a hundred years old and outdated.
- Spreading awareness among citizens about the importance of rain-water harvesting.
- Checking unplanned development and regulating the business of hotels and home-stays. The number of tourists visiting Shimla must be regulated considering the supply of water.
- Having a strong water policy with respect to pricing and ensuring better co-ordination among state agencies.
Source: The Hindu