Srinagar, Feb 8: Kashmir is heading for a major drinking and irrigation water crisis during summer as snow and rain still eludes the region though upper heights received light to heavy snowfall this winter, including 40-day-long “ Chilai-Kalan” and half of the 20-day Chilai-Khurd.
Barring tourist resort of Kokernag, the minimum temperature remained sub zero in the valley, where world famous ski resort of Gulmarg witness further drop of one degree and settled at minus 7 degree while border town of Kargil was coldest at minus 15 in the region though Leh record five degree surge.
However, Met department has predicted from February 10 onwards for next four days in the valley, where people continue to enjoy summer like weather conditions during the day, when maximum temperature remained five to seven notches above normal.
The water level in all water bodies, including river Jhelum, has witnessed considerable drop in the water level and the authorities have already suspended water transport in the river.
Though experts said that due to below freezing temperature during the night, the fruit trees got cooling temperature, necessary during the winter. However, heavy snowfall could have added to their (trees) life and production.
People in the valley are worried about the drinking and irrigation water during the summer as snow on the high peaks has already started melting due to above normal temperature during the day.
According to Public Health Engineering (PHE) department officials, about 60 per cent Water Supply Schemes (WSS) have already started facing water shortage in the valley. Though we expect rain will help to cover the winter deficit, but if things will not improve in near future, there will be more crisis in the summer, they said.
However, they said, PHE department is working on alternative plan to make sure people get water during the summer. Source of our WSS is mainly river, which get water from melting of snow on mountains and ground water, they said adding if snow on mountain will melt early due to above normal temperature, we may face shortage for which department has already started work how to cope with the situation.
Chilai kalan is already over and Chilai Khurd will also end of February 20, during this period people are expecting heavy to very heavy snowfall, particularly on the mountains for water supply in summer.
Though this winter heavy to very snowfall was received on the mountain in north Kashmir, there was less snow in south Kashmir. Experts said that snow on north mountain will benefit Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) adding it is snow on south and central Kashmir mountains which generally helps people in Kashmir.
Gulmarg in north Kashmir was coldest at minus 7 degree while the maximum temperature there was 1.4 degree above normal yesterday.
Pahalgam, a health resort in south Kashmir, about 100 km from here recorded minor improvement and settled at minus 2.2 degree against yesterdays minus 2.8 degree.
People continue to enjoy summer like weather conditions as the maximum temperature was over nine degree above normal while the minimum temperature remained near normal at minus 1.8 degree.
Met spokesman said the sky would be generally cloudy and the maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 12 degree and minus 1 degree respectively during the next 24 hours in Srinagar.