Emerging Water Crisis in Guwahati

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by Juthika Baruah

Along with the rest of the country which is facing severe water crisis, Assam, especially Guwahati is also facing the same threat as the city is reeling under the heavy crisis of water.

Chennai’s water crisis problem seems to be new but Guwahati faces similar problem since ages but still the government is least bothered to take any step to provide water to the citizens or to solve the water crisis problem in the city.

With the water crisis emerging as a huge problem in the country, NITI Aayog recently released the result of a study that warns India of facing its worst ever water crisis in the country and that the demand of water will outstrip supply by 2030.

The report of NITI Aayog said that nearly 600 million Indians faced high to extreme water stress with about 2,00,000 people dying each year as a result of inadequate access to safe water. The report also says that groundwater availability which accounts for about 40 percent of India’s water supply is getting depleted at an unsustainable rate and about 70% of India’s water supply is contaminated resulting to illness or worse death.

Although there are many water project lined up but still the Guwahati is facing acute crises of water supply as the projects remain only as a hope for the people.

The water supply project initiated by Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) assisted by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) has not yet completed. During the initiation of the project the GMDA official said that the water supply project will cater uninterrupted water supply to serve the population of Guwahati. The drinking water problem is a long problem for the citizens which will come up with a permanent solution after the water supply project will be completed but after 12 years also since the starting of the project, citizens have not received water.

Officials earlier said that the project provide for construction of new water works facilities to serve all Guwahati including raw water intakes, treatment plants, pumping stations, transmission lines, storage reservoirs and local distribution networks to achieve 24 hours water supply. But as the days passed, people are still in a hope that they will get 24 hours water supply from the government.

In Guwahati, areas such as Chandmari, Lachit Nagar, Kahilipara, Kalapahar etc. always face water crisis problem and they have to buy water on daily basis.

One of the residents of Chandmari Rumi Kalita said, “We have come to know about such projects of water supply since long but till date we are not benefitted and still have to struggle for water. Sometimes, we didn’t even get a drop of water and as water is very much essential for daily life the government should take the matter seriously without playing with the feelings of people. There are so many projects that we come to know about and the project was about to complete y 2014 but now it is mid 2016 but still the government fails to provide water to the people.”

Moreover, according to NITI Aayog’s data, more than 84% of the households in India have no access to piped water whereas, 70% water of the country is contaminated. In case of Assam, almost all the piped water schemes are in shambles as almost 90% of the PHE plants are dysfunctional.

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