R Lester Makang
UKHRUL, February 25: For the growing populace of a hill-top habitation like Ukhrul town, the shortage of water for public consumption due to scarce resources remains a chronic problem. The PHED Water Supply Department, Ukhrul Division via its pipeline service is unable to meet the water needs of the town`s ever growing population and thus only households within the town areas are connected to pipeline while a majority of those on the town`s periphery rely on local ponds or ground water.
Even so, the problem of water scarcity is not that much pronounced during wet season as the life giving natural substance are found aplenty except muddiness until the onset of bone dry season from January till March/April. But when the dry season sets in, by mid January most of the local water bodies /ponds run dry and spring waters reduced to trickle while the lone source for the town`s pipeline at the Shirui Hills gets depleted leaving the populace of the district headquarters practically high and dry.
Such is the situation that the hapless residents of Ukhrul town are presently in as most spend sleepless nights walking a long distance looking for water seepages with empty pots and buckets or scraping the bottom of community ponds in turn for a few pots of water.
“To obtain cooking water required for the day, I have to wake up as early as 3 am and head toward our local pond,” said a housewife Amila of Phungreitang while adding that though it is still dark several others are already started drawing water from the pond.
Another housewife Mary said that she normally walks some distance towards terrace paddy fields down the slopes in the evening to secure water for the next morning needs.
Yet another resident of Viewland said that his family has been drawing water from their paddy field by vehicle as the pipeline has stopped supplying water for the past saveral days.
When this IFP correspondent contacted the district water supply department, an official informed that owing to acute decrease in the level of water in the department reservoirs installed near Town Hall, the frequency of pipeline supply to households has been reduced to once a week.
“Earlier we supplied pipeline water to consumers every alternate day but since the past few weeks we had been constrained to reschedule a gap of 5/6 days in a week because our reservoirs are receiving lesser quantity of water from Shirui source.
He then added that to mitigate the situation the department has been distributing free mobile water to different localities in the town through its water tanker. “But this difficult situation may persist until the next rainfall,” he observed.