Small springs dry up as Kashmir experiences dry winter

Southern areas face acute water crisis, residents seek help

By: Ahmad Shabir

Anantnag: The drying up of springs in many parts of south Kashmir due to no or less snow this winter has created severe water crisis in several areas.

Besides rivers, springs are sources of many water supply schemes in the Valley.

The water from these springs is either directly supplied to the people through water pipes or is lifted through water generators, stored in water reservoirs and then supplied to people in shifts.

For last couple of weeks reports of water shortage are being received from various areas as the springs there have either dried up or water level in them having significantly decreased.

For instance, half of the population of village Mahind in Bijbehara is facing an acute drinking water crisis for the last two weeks.

The reason for the water shortage in the village is the drying up of two springs, which PHE authorities were using as additional sources to ensure drinking water supply to the entire village.

Official sources said that there may be an administrative failure also responsible for water shortage but the major reason for the same is drying up of two small springs from last several weeks.

“The reason for the drying up of these springs is no or less snowfall in last over two months of winter,” an official said.

The water shortage in the village is such that people use the contaminated and even muddy water of small streams in their washrooms and toilets. A resident said that several times in last ten days they had to make announcement from local Masjids, asking people not to come to Masjid without performing ablution as Masjids taps too were running dry.

“For the last several days, we have been washing even utensils with contaminated stream water,” said another resident.

Though the village has a major Water Supply Scheme for which water is lifted from a local spring called Thalnag but villagers complain that the officials of the mechanical department don’t lift the water as per the requirement, thus adding to the crisis.

Villagers said that the officials of the PHE department are struggling hard to provide water to the villagers on their part but the failure of the mechanical employees to lift water from Thalnag leave the former in a state of helplessness too.

“When we approach the mechanical department employees, they tell us that ‘they neither are provided fuel to lift water in the absence of electricity during day time nor have any accommodation for night stay to lift the water during night hours when electricity is on’,” the villagers said.

Water is supplied to another village Hatigam from the said scheme where people too are desperate for drinking water for several weeks.

An official said that almost the dry winter this year has led to water shortage in many areas of South Kashmir due to drying up of water bodies or decrease in water level in them.

“This less or no snow during winter months may also lead to shortage of water for irrigation purposes that may badly affect both horticulture and agriculture this year,” the officer said.

No top official of the mechanical wing of the department was available for the comment. However, one of the field staff officials said that they are supposed to lift the water for two villages Mahind and Hatigam.

“We can lift the water only when there is electricity and for two hours we lift for Mahind and in next shift we lift the water for Hatigam. Sometimes we cannot lift the water for more than two hours for both villages due to non-availability of electricity,” the official said.

He said that they don’t have any accommodation for night stay near the water source as a result of which they are unable to lift the water during night hours when electricity is available.

Related Articles