Shopian: About 125 villages in Shopian face drinking water crisis as 33 water supply schemes remain incomplete in the district for lack of funds.
Official records reveal that out of 106 water supply schemes only 65 are complete, while work on 33 is pending for lack of funds.
The inhabitants of 125 villages, Public Health Engineering (PHE) officials acknowledge, depend on outdated projects.
Despite having fresh water sources like Rambiara and Vishu streams, the villages of the district have to face water scarcity.
Residents of Gattipora village said that till date no water supply has been provided to the area. A few hand pumps provided by the government, they said were not sufficient, and demanded tapped water supply.
Villages like Krechpathri and Dachipora, Chitragam Kalan, Shirmal and dozens of others have similar complaints.
Out of 233 villages in the district, around 70 get untreated and unfiltered drinking water supply risking the health of residents. PHE Officials said that 11 water supply schemes provide untreated water, “but they were using chemicals”.
According to official records, all 106 water supply schemes meant for providing drinking water supply to the inhabitants get water from Vishu Rambiara streams which were once considered pristine, but human activities upstream have polluted them.
“The construction of Mughal road and shifting of the population to upper reaches has led to the pollution of water. The government must use pipelines from upper areas for its reservoirs by which the pure water supply can be provided to the inhabitants,” Muhammad Abid Saqi, an environmentalist said.
Locals residents said the current situation can lead to epidemics. “In 2013-14 an epidemic broke out in our area which even took life of three persons and cost lot of money for the treatment of diseases caused by the contaminated water,” Shamim Ahmad Malik from Killora said.
Irshad Ahmad Khan, a resident of Shopian town said that the major reservoir at Padpawan village which supplies water to the majority of the villages in the district is filled with dirty mud and sand.
“How can that filtration plant filter water. Even our taps at homes get blocked by objects carried through the pipelines,” he said while demanding pure water supply to the residents.
Officials said that all the filtration plants use ‘rapid sand’ technique to filter water. However, experts say the rapid sand techniques only filters the large particles and do not clean the minute particulates.
“Government has reduced funds to one-third of the previous funds due to which we were not able to complete these schemes,” executive engineer Public Health Engineer (PHE), Nisar Ahmad said.
He added that they have expectations that five schemes will get completed by March 2018.
He added that the work on the 33 schemes would only be completed if the government will release adequate funds on time. “Out of 458 habitations department has covered 276 habitations where adequate supply is being provided to the people while as the rest faces problems due to the incompletion of the schemes,” Ahmad said.
About 35 villages in Rampathri water supply scheme allege that the water reservoir meant for the area is full of mud while the authorities are in no mood to clean it. “We were getting direct/untreated river water that too inadequate,” Mubashir Ahmad, a resident of Chitragam area said.
Another resident from Nagbal said that the same reservoir was not fenced. “Nomads who come here in summers use this reservoir for washing clothes and utensils while as authorities are in slumber,” Javid Ahmad from Imamsahib area said.
Nisar added that they had plans to clean all the reservoirs and that he will check the status of the schemes and their conditions as he recently assumed the office.
Medicos suggest the inhabitants use boiled water.
“It is true that the water supplied through the pipeline is not worth consuming without boiling or filtering,” said Dr Shafat.
Another physician from Shopian hospital said that the contamination of drinking water is so high that some of the bacterias remain alive even after boiling it.