Shimla Facing Acute Water Crisis During Peak Tourist Season
The increasing impact of climate change, unplanned construction, and rapid loss of green cover are exacerbating water scarcity in Shimla
Due to prolonged dry spells triggered by heatwaves and decreasing water supply from perennial sources, Himachal Pradesh’s capital Shimla is now facing an acute water crisis. Since summertime is also a peak tourist season in Shimla, drinking water woes are causing problems for residents, tourists, as well as hoteliers. To solve the issue, authorities have started water rationing in the ‘Queen of Hills.’
The Shimla Jal Prabandhan Nigam Limited (SJPNL) meets water needs in different localities of the town on different days. So, residents and hoteliers will get potable water on alternate days. However, despite reassurances, some residential areas haven’t received any water supply for 3-4 days.
Speaking on the impending water crisis in town, SJPNL’s additional general manager Anil Jaiswal states that they have gone for water rationing due to depleting water supplies from natural sources. However, he is certain that water rationing won’t last long, as there’s a pre-monsoon forecast in the coming few days.
This is not the first time the state capital has been hit by a water crisis. Even in 2018, the city residents had to depend on water rationing for 10 days after taps ran dry. During the lockdown period, there were no such potable water woes due to no tourist influx. Now, the town is again facing a water crisis during the peak tourist season – as there are so many people in need of water but little to no supply.
The decrease in the water supply is also due to depleting green cover and unplanned construction in the town. And, another major reason is that this year Himachal Pradesh received 94 percent deficit rainfall in March and April. In May, the rain deficit was 23 percent despite a total of eight wet spells.
Shimla usually gets its water supply from six major water sources. These are Giri, Gumma, Churat, Seogh, Chairh, and Koti Brandi. But due to scanty rainfall, the level of water receded in the Giri river up to 50 percent. So, only 12 million litres per day (MLD) of water is coming from Giri.
On the other hand, 70 percent of the water has dried up in Koti Brandi. It means that out of the 5 MLD capacity, the SJPNL is drawing just 0.77 MLD water. At present, only 12 MLD water is being drawn from Giri, while water had dried up to 70 percent in Koti Brandi. Of the total installed capacity of 5 MLD, the SJPNL is drawing only 0.77 MLD of water.
Therefore, to solve the potable water issue SJPNL general manager RK Verma recently called an emergency meeting of staff. He directed them to make sure there was adequate water supply on alternate days. But it’s still a big shock to hoteliers in Shimla.
It is because due to the heavy tourist rush, the water demand is double and hotel occupancy in the city has also increased by up to 70 percent. So, buying water through tankers is pricey for them. But hotels are trying their best to offer adequate supplies to their guests.
For now, everyone in Shimla is now just waiting for pre-monsoon to hit soon, and get some relief from this acute water crisis.
Via: Outlook India