Uttarakhand Under the Grip of Acute Water Scarcity

by Medindia Content Team on Oct 7 2007 12:46 PM

A crippling water crisis has gripped several villages in Uttarakhand.

According to reports, most streams have dried up and reservoirs have run out of water. To add to their woes, the availability of clean water is a common problem.

"The water here is very dirty. Both people and animals wash, clean and bath here. We drink the same water," said Sita Parmar, a resident of Thati village.

Residents claimed the problem had been with them for more than a decade.

Three rivers - Ganges, Mahakali and Alaknanda - flow through Uttarakhand, formerly called Uttaranchal.

These rivers meet the water requirements of neighbouring states. But ironically, the people here have to trudge for miles to fetch a pot of drinking water.

The State Government claims to have drawn up several schemes for supplying water to villages, but most of them remains on paper.

"The water in these villages is polluted. But as per the guidelines of the Government of India, we are supposed to prioritise things. First of all, we cater to the villages that have no water supply, then those that have partial water supply and then come these villages that have polluted water," said R. Meenakshi Sundaram, district magistrate, Uttarakhand.

The region is also prone to natural calamities.

Experts, however, believe that the water crisis has largely been caused by the mismanagement of the existing water resources.

Out of the 13 districts in Uttaranchal, 11 districts do not have enough drinking water. Some of the water projects developed to cater to the needs of the districts, are more than 15 years old and do not cover all villages.