IMPHAL, March 26: Along with other districts, residents of Imphal area have been facing an acute shortage of safe drinking water in the last few months.
The daily requirement of the 7.5 lakh population of Imphal including sub urban areas is slated at 102 million liters (ML) and the volume provided by the Public Health and Engineering Department at present amounts to hardly 70 ML.
An official of the department told IFP that the water being pumped from Iroisemba Treatment Plant and Cheiraoching is being rationed once in four days for commercial water lines due to low water level at the Singda Dam water reservoir.
It was learnt that the water which is being pumped from the main reservoir incurs a loss of 30% during transmission due to leakages. The main reason is stated to be the nearly 40 years old pipelines deteriorating. Another major problem faced by the PHED is illegal connections from the main pipelines.
Further, the irregular power supply is also another main cause for unavailability of water. 17 treatment plants that feeds drinking water to the people of Imphal require about 380 voltage of power to operate optimally, However, the treatment plants receive just about 360 volts, making them inoperable at most times.
The feeder pump which collects water from the Iril River is also not operational at most times. The Porompat water supply also caters to the Imphal East area by routing connections to another 3 pumping stations.
T Mangi Singh, a resident of Uripok said, “We have been buying water for daily usage, the water from the commercial lines sometimes flow at a trickle, whereas the VIP lines flows day and night”. He lamented the fact that the public has to suffer whereas the VIPs have no such dilemma.
As per official reports received here, the State targets to provide not less than 135 litres of water for an individual living in urban area and 40 litres per capita per day in rural areas.
Further, the water level of the major rivers like Imphal and Iril which were the main water sources were reported to be low due to the of unavailability of water sources at the catchments areas. The water level of Singda dam which plays a major role in supplying water to Imphal area, has receded drastically.
Y Ibomcha, a resident of Thangmeiband said, “We have been buying water from tankers and other water rickshaws as long as I can remember. The tankers charge exorbitant amounts and we are helpless but to pay for it”.
Tankers ferrying to private demands charge more than a thousand rupees for 12,000 litres, whereas the amount paid by them at the filling pumps at Chingarel and Koirengei is only Rupees 90.
It was also reported to IFP that tankers were found pumping up water from Sekmai river near CRPF camp and Khurai Lamlong bridge.
There have been complaints of small fishes being found in the water carried by the tankers.
The scarcity of drinking water has also hit the other parts of the State including Ukhrul, Senapati and Churachandpur district headquarters.
It may be mentioned that there is no clear cut water supply policy of the state government at present. The Chief Minister Okram Ibobi during the sidelines of his swearing in ceremony on March 14 had told mediapersons that in his third term, emphasis will begiven on providing safe drinking water next to power and road connectivity.
According to reports,the State government has submitted a project to the Japan international Cooperation Agency seeking a loan amount of Rs 654 crore for replacing old and leaking pipes along with the defunct treatment plants. If it is sanctioned, Manipur can have a water supply system that will last for at least 30 years.
Disappearance of forest cover in the catchment areas of Manipur’s major rivers, irregular power supply and leaking water supply pipelines are the main reasons for shortage of water in the State capital.