Shimla, May 2 : Residents of the hill town of Shimla in Himachal are grappling with a severe water crisis that is expected to affect the flow of tourists to this summer destination.
Over sixty per cent of the population of Shimla is affected by the serious drinking water problem.
And the summer of discontent brewing over several years has turned acute this time round.
"The water shortage is of such acute proportions that children have to remain without bathing. The tanker comes once in four or five days. There is a lot of water problem. It has been going on for the past five to seven years," said Suraj Lal, a resident.
"We are facing a severe water problem here. Tankers that come here are quite small and not sufficient enough. They should either ensure adequate water supply through the taps or deploy tankers on a regular basis. This is the ninth consecutive day without water," added Raksha, another resident.
According to Harish Janartha, Deputy Mayor of Shimla, there is a fifty per cent shortage in the daily total requirement of 42 lakh kilolitres.
Supplies have halved from all four sources. While Guma supplies only 14 lakh kilolitres out of the expected 18 to 19 lakh kilolitres per day, Ashwani Khad provides just three to four kilolitres out of its capacity of nine to ten lakh kilolitres, Churat Nall's share has reduced from five lakh kilo litres to just two kilo litres and it is only Chaid that has constantly supplied the regular 1.5 kilo litres.
"These days, the crisis is acute because resources are drying up. The quantity of water which was supposed to be supplied to us through our four major sources has been reduced to literally fifty percent," the deputy mayor observed.
He however said that the problem could be ameliorated to some extent through adequate storage and even supplies.
"We had decided that all the sources, all the supply lines where we have been giving water in sufficient quantity, we are trying to cut down a bit two minutes, five minutes and ten minutes on all the sources so that we can store some water and our water level will rise and that can be supplied in these areas. That has been the decision taken today," said Janartha.
"It will take one to two days to regulate this decision. After that I am sure we will manage something. I cannot commit that we will manage in full capacity but I am sure that places which do not have water for 8 to ten days, as we have the information regarding that, we will provide them," added Janartha.
He further said that local civic body was trying to ensure water supply through tankers and taps on alternate days.
The water scarcity is expected to hit the tourism industry in the town as well.
Besides the two-lakh population in Shimla and surrounding areas, there is also a floating population of 50,000 visiting the hill town, which includes tourists.
If the water scarcity persists, it can have a serious impact on the summer tourism business in the town. The civic body is gearing up to ensure adequate drinking water supply within two weeks' time.
Story first published: Friday, May 2, 2008, 18:08 [IST]