Shimla runs out of water; residents, tourists sweat

Shimla runs out of water; residents, tourists sweat: Shimla is witnessing a most important water crisis for the period of peak tourist season with taps running dry for the eighth day in most parts of the city.

Locals, Visitors Suffer As Shimla Runs Out Of Water During Peak Tourist Season

This is force people to buy water at exorbitant prices and smaller hotels to cancel bookings that also make the drinking water smooth supply in the Queen of Hills that fell to less than 50% of requirements, that is because of the dry winter.

About 100 people staged a midnight sit-in protest, On Sunday night, outside the waterworks office on the main Mall Road and the police stopped them from going towards the residence of chief minister, Jai Ram Thakur, who on Monday constituted a committee headed by the Vineet Chowdhary, chief secretary to the monitor daily water supply.

On Monday, The Himachal high court took suo moto cognizance of the crisis, post the local bar association stopped work citing the water problem.

The court asked Rohit Jamwal, the municipal commissioner Rohit Jamwal and other municipal officials are all set to appear in person on Tuesday which was to elaborate the reasons for the severe water shortage.

The president of Himachal Bar Association, Brij Mohan Chauhan, said: “We haven’t seen such a situation in the last 20 years. The government has failed to provide even drinking water to people.” Jamwal termed the situation unusual but seemed to suggest that the crisis has been in the making for some time. He said over the past three summers, water availability had plunged to 29 or 30 million litres per day (MLD). “This year we are able to supply only about 20 MLD. That makes it tough to match demand,” he said. The water demand in Shimla for the period of peak tourist season is around 45 MLD.

The water crunch had forced locals to spend several hours in queues to get a bucket of water, buy from private water suppliers at double the normal rates, or even, for those who can afford to do it, leave Shimla for the comfort of their villages. “There is no water in the area for the last one week. The residents were told that supply would be restored on Sunday but nothing happened. The people are agitated about the (government) inaction. Most of the traders kept waiting for water the entire say,” said Congress councilor Sushma Kuthiala.

Though, places like Kasumpti haven’t had the supply for 11 days. “Some areas are inaccessible as even tankers cannot supply water there,” says a former councilor, Narender Thakur.

The water shortage has hit hotels hard. “Many bookings have been canceled in the last two to three days. When the government cannot provide water then it should stop promoting Shimla as the tourist destination,” says Suresh Dogra, a travel agent on the Mall Road. A majority of hoteliers in Shimla have engaged private tankers to make up for the shortage but the supply is not enough to meet demand. “I canceled my booking in Shimla after a local hotelier told me that he could not assure adequate water,” said, Raman Singh, a Noida resident.

The main source of water to the city is the Gumma, which draws water from Shimla catchment sanctuary that is fed by nine streams.

The British built a large storage tank which is for supply to the main town. Other sources are Chairh, Giri, and Churat. Supply from Ashwani Khad has suspended already before 2 years after sewage contamination led to a jaundice outbreak.