Water crisis deepens amid lockdown in Ukhrul
R LESTER MAKANG
UKHRUL, 5th Apr: As dry spell continues, a vast section of the populace in Ukhrul town is grappling to meet their daily requirement of water amid the ongoing lockdown.
With the lockdown in place due to Coronavirus threat compelling schools and businesses to remain closed for weeks now, apparently consumption of water at home increases while means of affordability among the people is being constrained as well.
Majority of households in the town, especially in the peripheral areas, which are not connected to pipeline water supply, are struggling to get a few buckets of water by spending sleepless nights as most water bodies have dried up during daytime.
As some residents disclosed, it took them about an hour to collect a bucketful of water early in the morning, while some others fetched it before daybreak to ensure collection of the day's requirement for their households.
Some households manage to buy water from private suppliers at exorbitant rates but majority of the populace cannot afford it. One buyer said that he bought 2000 litres at Rs 300 per 500 litres recently.
However, a private water supplier informed that the rate has been hiked to Rs 350 per 500 litres as they are paying taxes for drawing water from the sources far off from the town.
A homemaker said that the water problem is twofold.
"We have to arrange two types of water, one for drinking (potable) and the other for household purposes like washing clothes, bathing, toilet, etc. But now, water ponds and springs have dried up. If there's no rain in the next few days, the situation will be very harsh for poor people like us", she said.
Meanwhile, even small children could be seen gathered around some local ponds and waiting for the meagre seepages to fill their empty pots and buckets.
Many residents in Khaivarentang and Hamleikhong areas have appealed to the authorities concerned to arrange distribution of water in the neighbourhoods to mitigate the situation.
Ukhrul has remained a water-stressed township with no solution in sight for years with growing population and shrinking water sources and, more so during this dry season. Majority of town residents are not connected to the public pipeline water supply and rely on local water ponds, streams and natural springs for their survival year round.
At present, only around 1100 households out of the total houses of around 10,000-15,000 of the town, are availing pipeline water supply as registered consumers from PHE Department.
The department reservoirs are receiving around 1.3 lakh litres from Singuira source and 4.8 lakh litres from Kokthi kong at Shirui but the actual consumers requirement is around 10 lakh litres per day.